13 Reasons Why… College Students Are Excited About Summer

I may be a winter person but you can’t beat three months without classes.

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I’m not a summer person normally. The only good thing about summer to me is my job and the fact that I take one or two classes rather than five. Summer is a great time to catch some rays (while also drowning in sunscreen) and for getting cut up and bitten by things that lurk when you’re hiking. Here are the 13 reasons why I’m excited about summer.

1. Summer Job

My summer job is full of people I know and love. I’m a counselor at a day camp my church puts on. We talk care of around 80-100 kids Monday through Friday eight weeks of the summer. Sure there are times where I want to cry and pull my hair out but there are also times where I want to cry from how awesome the kids are.

2. The Lake

One of my favorite places. Lake Tenkiller (the best closest lake to my hometown) has become one of my most favorite places to go in the summer. It’s relaxing and an adventure each visit.

3. Family

Going nine months without seeing my siblings constantly is kind of difficult, of course, it changes when you only spend time with them and it’s for three months. Then I’m ready for the next nine again.

4. Parking

I constantly worry about parking when I’m at school. It’s a pain and it stresses me out when there is no need for stress. At home, I can park whenever and wherever -besides handicap, duh.

5. Summer Blockbusters

Good movies come out in the summer.

6. Barbecues

Getting together with friends and family over a plate of ribs and grilled chicken is a great way to end a weekend.

7. Fourth of July

The pyro inside me loves when things go BOOM! in the night. The buildings around my house have great acoustics for the boom of fireworks, it reverberates throughout the neighborhood.

8. Stressless Bingeing

Everyone starts a show in the summer. Most start a few different series or they re-start old flames. Either way, you don’t have to worry about watching a new series with homework piling up on your desk.

9. Sleep

The few weeks I have before and after my job starts are blissful. Going to bed at 6 a.m. (don’t ask me why) and waking up at noon or 1 p.m. is a great feeling after waking up for 8:30’s or 9’s and so on. I, personally, need a break from waking up in the morning.

10. Cooking

I live in a traditional dorm so I have no kitchen. Being able to whenever and whatever I want is something I dream about.

11. Family Vacation

The past couple of years my family has gone to Florida for vacation. Last year was the only time I got to go because they planned it around my work schedule. It was an amazing time. We had a condo that was within sight of the beach and it was quiet and wonderful and I’m so excited to go back.

12. Pool Parties

I don’t personally own a pool but I have a couple of friends who do and it’s an awesome feeling when they invite me to hang out and swim for a while.

13. Tan

My family does have a history of skin cancer but I still appreciate a good tan.

To the High School Senior Without a Plan

To the high school senior with no future plans yet,

First off, don’t stress about it.

College is supposed to make getting a job easier but if you don’t want two or four more years of school that’s fine. Try and make good impressions on family friends and maybe they can help you get an entry-level position in their company or workplace.

Don’t be afraid of the future. It’s not going to bite, hard, but you need to be ready if it does. Try and make a few plans in order to change your future.

One plan could involve going to college. Finding community colleges near you is simple but maybe they do not have the degree plan you want. General Education (Gen Eds) courses are usually better if you take them in community colleges because they’re cheaper and typically have smaller student/teacher ratios.

Another plan could be to travel. You need to decide where you want to go, how you get there and who you are going with. Save as much money as you can while you are still in school. Set up a plan that enables you to save a certain percent after every paycheck. Make a goal to save a certain amount of money by the summer, or the winter, whenever you want to take your trip.

Another plan could be to join the workforce early. It is similar to asking family friends for jobs but this one is you applying for random entry-level jobs and taking what you can get. A job at McDonald’s can be the first step to having a managerial position and moving further up. You can still be successful if you start low in the corporate food chain. Just think, James Franco and Rachel McAdams both worked at McDonald’s starting out but now they’re celebrities.

Not having a plan for your future is a plan. It is not necessarily the plan to getting rich and living a life worth living but it’s something. Maybe you like living on the edge and seeing what you can overcome when life throws a curveball at you.

Saving money is the ultimate contingency plan when it comes to the future. Money doesn’t buy happiness but it buys apartments and warm beds which are almost the same.

Not having a plan yet isn’t going to set you back 20 years, it’s going to stress you out and make you think irrationally. Breath, ask your parents for help, start saving money or gather applications for college. It’s never too late to go.

If you’re worried about scholarships and how to pay for college then you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as you and your parents are able. It can make a world of difference between having $20,000 in tuition and the college giving you $1,000 for attending their school.

Don’t stress out about high school graduation. Don’t stress out about college graduation. Think about what you want to do in life and research how you can get there.

11 Things To Do After Christmas

The holidays are a time to relax, replenish and renew. It’s a time to love your family and love on yourself. But what if you grow tired of the holiday spirit and you miss the school grind (it’s possible). Being bored of your hometown after spending months away at college is completely normal. Having something to do every weekend with your college buddies becomes a routine but winter intersession gets in the way. It’s a welcome break for sure but five weeks is a lot for the ones who enjoy college life. So if your hometown gets boring, check out this list of things to after Christmas.

1. Thank your family

And/or the people who took you in for the holidays. It’s a lot of time, effort and planning to throw a party or a get-together for the family.

2. Get ready for New Year’s

Parties, outfits, fun. New Year’s is celebrating the start of a new chapter in our lives and being with the ones we love to kick 2016 out of here.

3. Get ready for school

No one likes to talk about it but it’s coming back (unless you graduated in the winter, in that case: CONGRATULATIONS). You need to have your textbooks ready (if you’re one of those who actually uses them), you need to have your notebooks (if you’re so inclined), you need to have your winter clothes at the ready but also be prepared for spring/summer weather.

4. Plan spring break

It’s not that far away if you haven’t started planning yet you should probably do that now.

5. Binge five of the greatest action series on Netflix

Check out this link and be prepared to stay up until 6 am watching your next favorite show.

6. Watch Suicide Squad – Extended Cut over 100 times

Not gonna lie, this movie is one of my all-time favorite movies and when I opened it for Christmas I freaked out. So, I’m watching it as I type this and I’ll watch it at least another 30 times before I go back to school.

7. Sleep

Class and work take up the majority of everyone’s time. Sleep now while you can.

8. Eat

Classes get jumbled up and you don’t have time to eat or you don’t have the money to eat. Eat now while someone else is supplying.

9. Spend time with your family

Show them some love and spend some time with them. Sleepovers and meals and just watching TV are quality time with your family. You’ll appreciate it later.

10. Go shopping

A New Year means a new you. A new you means a new wardrobe. Spend your holiday money on something that’ll last a while.

11. Clean your room

Donate the clothes you don’t wear anymore. Throw out the items that don’t bring you joy. The new year is a perfect time to start fresh.

4th of July

fireworks 2015 w logo
Fireworks bursting (via Maddy S. Jones photography)

Today is America’s Independence day and a cause for rednecks, and the like, to blow stuff up. I, for one, love shooting fireworks and I enjoy the camaraderie that this day brings.

My family has lived in the same place for over ten years now (which is pretty good for us) and ¬†for the past couple years we’ve finally been one of the lucky ones to be invited to a 4th of July Shindig.

It’s great fun; food, fireworks, kids trying to be cool with fireworks. It’s a blast to sit in a lawn chair and look up at the night sky and see what’s new in the world of fireworks.

The sound, the colors and the reverberations in my heart always leave me wanting more and I’m sad when another “America Day” is over. I’m also sad because I’ll have to wait another year to take pictures of fireworks. Actually, that’s how I got into photography.

This time last year I grabbed my parents’ old Konica digital camera and I shot some really nice firework pictures and since then I bought a Nikon D3200 and I’ve had a few shoots with people and I’ve shot a bunch of events for the O’Colly and APO (my service organization at OSU).

I hope your day is as special as mine! Happy Fourth of July!