Protips: Summer

Rin Swann, Reporter

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So, we did it! Nine months of pain and suffering, tests and essays have ended. There will be no more breaking down in tears in the bathroom because your GPA took a hit, no more stressing about what your teacher really meant when they said you “did ok,” and no more losing your mind when the school cafeteria lady takes away your coffee in the morning because you still haven’t brought in money (although that one might just be me).

It’s summer now! Our vacation! The time of our lives! School’s out! Scream and shout! Those may be the lyrics to High School Musical but, hey, it’s true.

But, since it will be quite an adjustment from waking up at 6:30 AM and not having a mental breakdown every week, we have compiled one last list of Protips to help you make the most of your summer.

Protip 1: It’s going to be weird.

Over the past nine months, school has drilled into us certain things that are going to take several weeks to ignore. Those first few days, you will probably wake up at the same time before breathing a sigh of relief and going back to sleep because you can now. Or you may find yourself reaching for your backpack automatically to start on the homework you no longer have to complete. Or you may find your lips slowly upturning in a rare gesture called a “smile” that you may not have seen since last summer. Adjusting is a natural part of summer and, even though it will be weird, you’ll eventually relax back into your summertime self.

Protip 2: You may have no idea what to do anymore.

School has swallowed up so much of our time and, now that summer is here, you may have absolutely no idea what to do with all your spare time. Sure, spending a few weeks lying on the couch watching Youtube and Netflix originals can swallow a chunk of it, but after a while, even that gets boring. So take up a hobby, or get a job, or learn how to file your taxes. Anything is a good thing if it means you are still doing something instead of lazing about, wallowing in boredom.

Protip 3: Wear SPF.

I’m talking to you here, boy. Recently, a decent chunk of girls have been (mostly) scared straight by beauty marketing schemes, but boys never seem to wear SPF. And even girls often brave the sun with no protection to get that “golden goddess glow.” If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. The. Sun. Is. No. Joke. And if you think you can fight a battle with it and win, you are lying to yourself. Save yourself from painful sunburn, peeling skin, wrinkles, and skin cancer and just wear some sunblock.

Protip 4: If you’re traveling, actually pack in advance.

As a card carrying member of the “I’ll pack before I leave” club, I know for a fact you will forget stuff if you don’t think about it in advance. Some of my finest moments have included forgetting a toothbrush, forgetting underwear, forgetting shoes, and forgetting any type of shirt. None of this would have happened if I actually thought about what I was bringing instead of haphazardly tossing it in a suitcase. If you’re going to be away from home, make sure you have the essentials, and save yourself some grief later on.

Protip 5: You aren’t going to war.

On the flipside, you don’t need six suitcases, a bag of snacks, and three different types of hair dryers for a three day trip. This isn’t a war. You won’t need that much stuff. Just pack what you know you need and will use and leave behind everything else. You’ll save yourself a backache and some money.

Protip 6: Go on an adventure or two.

Everyone’s version of an “adventure” is different. For some, it’s traveling to a far-away plac,e and for others, it’s going to Dairy Queen at 1 am. But those adventures are worth having, especially over the summer when you know you have time to do them. Call up your friends and ask them if they want to do something they’ve never done before. Make a “summer bucket list” of what you want to do. Take your parents out to dinner and treat them for once (that would be a miracle.) While you have this time, use it, and make your summer a journey that you’ll remember forever. This could be the best one ever.

Protip 7 (for Juniors): You don’t have to listen to people.

In the coming weeks and months, you’re going to get a lot of advice. So I’m not going to make it worse for you by offering my two cents about college and life. You’ve heard “apply early” and “try for scholarships” and “fill out the FAFSA” so many times by now its a useless drone in your head. No amount of advice can do this for you. This is a journey you have to take. Choose what you want it to be and who, if anyone, to listen to you. This is the rest of your life and the only one who can choose it is you.

Protip 7 ( for Seniors):  Forget the clock, but make these moments count.

Seniors, we have a definitive deadline now. This fall, we will be splitting apart, maybe forever. It’s not likely we will all be in the same place, at the same time, on the same page, every again after graduation. We have shared these struggles at NA and now as we leave, that clock keeps ticking. So… ignore it. Live your summer like you will be coming back. Have fun with your friends. Get even closer with your family. Try not to cry so much. Don’t hold grudges or have regrets. In a few months, you will have a blank slate. So finish filling in the one you have first before you start to rewrite.

And finally, Protip 8: Enjoy it.

One way or another, everything starts again in the fall. So do what you want, how you want. Let go of the stress you’ve been holding all year and fill the empty space with memories. The summer is a gift. Don’t refund it.

This is Protips, signing off for this year. I wish you all the best of luck in what comes next.