Summer Doldrums

By Gina Samec

While some of your friends may be vacationing in Italy or Mexico,  with the pictures on Facebook to prove it, others, like me, are stuck at home with less desirable things to do. I truly wish I could be writing an article about my trip to Spain but that is not the case. Summer is moving at a snail pace for me which is a shift from my summers as a kid where they never seemed to be long enough. I never travel, I don’t have a driver’s license, and oftentimes distance and schedules make hanging out with friends challenging. Due to these misfortunes, I have resorted to other means of keeping myself entertained. If you find yourself in the same boat, hopefully some of these suggestions will help you pass the time.

This first suggestion may seem very obvious but it is no small feat for some of us. Read a book! I know many people who detest reading and would rather watch paint dry. Although I don’t dislike reading, I haven’t been reading as many books for fun as I used to. I realized recently that I miss that feeling I had as a kid, when I could not bear to put my book down because I was so engrossed in the story. Though it falls lower on my list of summer activities, I decided to pick up a nonfiction book last month. I promise you will feel a sense of accomplishment after finishing a book, not to mention, if you’re reading in English, you’ll be practicing the language. Here is a list of popular English language novels that are great for second language learners. 

If you truly hate reading, try making a list of movies you’ve always been meaning to see. I did this and ended up discovering some of my current favorite movies. I mention movies over television shows because it’s only two hours of commitment. If you can’t think of what to watch, choosing from AFI’s or IMDB’s best movies of all time lists are good places to start.

So far I’ve only mentioned activities that require no movement. If you’re like me, you probably don’t go for runs or necessarily prioritize exercise in your life. However, hikes are a great form of exercise and are actually fun if you pick a pretty location. The other day, I ended up hiking ten miles but I hardly felt the distance because the hike offered shady trees and a nice view along the way.

Next, while I enjoy wearing “basic” clothes as much as the next girl in Los Angeles, I occasionally like to throw in used basic clothes as well. Yes, I’m talking about thrift shopping. Thrifting is a great way to save money, shop more ethically and environmentally friendly, and find something you would have never found in the stores you usually visit. I feel proud after finding a gem hidden in the thrift store racks. Sifting is a skill and I don’t mind saying that I’m pretty good at it.

Lastly, this final idea won’t sound too fun but if you tear up every time you remember how much tuition is, applying for scholarships is a good way to use your summer hours. If you are motivated to lessen the cost of college, write some solid essays that you can use for more than one scholarship. You can tweak them later to apply to specific scholarships down the road but, at least this way, the majority of the paper will be done.  As a general rule, I’ve noticed that the scholarship applications that require more difficult and time consuming essays, the less competition you will likely have.

Although these suggestions are fairly common, I hope they help you get the most of your summer vacation.  Let’s also hope that next summer will see me in a foreign country or even an internship so that I can write a more exotic and exciting ALI Life & Times article. 🙂

Featured image by Angello Pro on Unsplash

Gina is an undeclared rising Sophomore interested in Communication and Public Policy. She attended five schools but mostly grew up in Piedmont, California. Although she only attended a French bilingual school for two years, she has continued to pursue fluency in the language. She loves playing volleyball, watching movies, and thrift shopping. Never having left the country has fueled her love for learning about other cultures and meeting people from different backgrounds.