Make the most of a potentially boring summer

“So, what are you doing this summer?” Ah, that loathsome, inescapable question. There are only a couple weeks of the semester left and, if you’re lucky, you have your summer plans set right now. Some of you probably landed that big-bucks, knockout internship way back in January (I’m looking at you, CS majors). If you are one of these people, I salute you and your peace of mind — my insane jealously notwithstanding.

Meanwhile, there are the rest of us. We, the increasingly panicked hordes, are still waiting on job leads and the couple or couple dozen fishing lines (résumés, cover letters, and applications) we’ve flung into the void. If you’re like me (eternally thinking, “Well, there’s still time”), I sincerely hope you end up catching something.

But even if you don’t, hang on to the fact that it won’t be the end of the world. With a little motivation and creative thinking, you can definitely make this summer worthwhile. Here are just a few options:

1) Start a project.

Now that outside forces have stopped throwing work at you, why not give yourself some work? It’s amazing how quickly doing nothing can become soul-crushingly boring. Build a website, or — if you’re technologically incapable of that — start by picking up some HTML on Code Academy. Write that novel you’ve been dreaming of. Read ten whole books. Learn how to play “Wonderwall” on guitar and experience the joy of being “that guy.” You’ll collect some new skills to give next year’s résumé more of a fighting chance. Plus, you’ll build yourself into a more well-rounded and interesting person. Or whatever.

2) Get healthy.

It’s true — all that you need in order to have a “bathing suit body” is to put a bathing suit on your body. That said, this could be the summer when you finally do get in shape. Take advantage of the best season for fresh fruit. Eat some salad; get over the fact that salad will always be on some level disappointing. Get a three-month gym membership, or take some five dollar Yoga to the People classes (marvel at the fact that woah, you can actually get your leg up there). For the more economical alternative, watch just a few of the Zumba videos that seem to proliferate Youtube; sweat like a pig, look like an idiot, and revel in it all.

3) Go outside.

Most of what’s fun about summer is not confined to your (hopefully air-conditioned) home. Wherever you happen to be, there is definitely an awesome concert heading your way, from SummerStage festival in New York City (which runs through August and is mostly free) to the tons of individual bands that will be rolling through Pittsburgh. You should also probably hit up a beach at some point, or bike/drive up to the nearest river and have a picnic if you’re feeling more adventurous. Re-cement your bonds with friends back home. Nature is pretty cool, actually.

4) Make money.

It’s actually easier than you’d expect to earn a few bucks over the summer. You could always go the $7.25 an hour barista route (it’s a pretty valuable life experience, in my opinion), but there are also tons of smaller jobs you can pick up or create for yourself. Put up a poster in your building offering your services, whether it be some kind of sitting (baby, pet, plant, etc.), tutoring (though any kid who actually has to learn over the summer will probably be a handful), or computer help (“Have you tried turning it off and then on again, Mrs. Jenkins?”). Keep your eyes open for freelance work. Opportunities tend to pop up in the most unexpected places.

5) Embrace the rage.

Even now that you’ve learned some things, had some fun, and gotten ripped, it might still be hard to swallow the bitterness that you were forced to throw together a decent summer from scratch. Realize that joblessness, unpaid internships, and massive debt are the burden of college students everywhere. Realize that this generation works its butt off with little credit. Let that anger empower you to make next summer an even better one.

Alright, I’m off to frantically check my email, send out a dozen more applications, and cry my way toward finals week. Best of luck to you all!