1. Get a Job (for reals though)
Okay I know what you’re thinking…”I just graduated, and now you want me to do MORE work?!” and to that I say, “YES!!!”. Just think about how great it’ll feel in the fall when your peers are experiencing being totally broke, but you’re cashing into those summer savings. If you’re not convinced yet, all those discounts you’ll be getting will sure to be worth it!
2. Be a Good Samaritan and Volunteer
I’ll bet you little soon-to-be-high-school-graduates are sitting there wondering why after first audaciously telling you to get a job, I’m now telling you to get a job that you won’t be paid to do, but bear with me! While getting a paying job sure is fun and the money is definitely a plus, there’s an upside to volunteer or internship opportunities. While in a normal job you may be getting paid, you’re going to be pretty limited as a 17-18 year old with nothing but a high school degree and little work experience. However, in a volunteer position you’re going to have the opportunity to have experiences that you wouldn’t be otherwise qualified for. For instance, for the past three years I’ve worked as a volunteer at a local zoo, and it’s an experience that definitely wouldn’t be available to me as any sort of paid position. Also, it’s going to be significantly easier to find some fun volunteer opportunities than a paying job since most places will jump at the chance for free labor (HOLLA).
3. Spend Time With Your Fam (They’re cool…Kind of…)
You don’t realize it, but you’re going to miss your family in the fall — the corny jokes your dad always tells, the way your mom nags you constantly to feed the dogs (in the middle of your favorite television show, no less), the way your siblings constantly seem to tromp into your room, unannounced. While it is likely you will be back to visit frequently for school breaks, it’s never going to be the way it was when you still lived at home. Why? Easy: you’ll have a newfound sense of independence – no more having your parents constantly berate you to check in with them, no more curfew, no more “DON’T EAT THAT THIS LATE AT NIGHT”. You’ll be making your own good (or bad) decisions. Take advantage of your family being there, even if you’re not leaving your hometown, you’ll never feel this way again.
4. Explore Your City (or Town or Cornfield)
I moved to New York City the summer before my sophomore year of high school, and I’m the first to admit that there are hundreds of things that I should do in the city and haven’t done, and so I plan on spending a good portion of this summer exploring the city. Now, you’re probably thinking that you can’t possibly find something to explore in your town or city – especially if it’s very small or you’ve lived there since birth; however, I’ll bet that if you drive or walk around for a few hours, you’re such to happen upon something you never knew existed. One idea: check out Guy Fieri’s show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and see if any of these famous restaurants (er, holes-in-the-wall) are in your area. It’ll make for a delicious and unconventional afternoon.
5. Hang with Your Friends
Whether you’ve known someone a few months or since the day you were born, you’re sure to have close bonds with the people you go to school with or know from other activities, and in a just a couple short months you may never see some of them again. What has really struck me about the ending of my high school career is that, as a whole, my grade has grown much closer. People that once wouldn’t be talking have started hanging out, and there’s been a much bigger effort to get things done as a grade, not just within our separate friend groups. Even though most of us are dying to get out of high school and join the real world, appreciate the people around you.