Summer is the most deceptive season. It starts off with so many possibilities – the places you’ll go, the things you’ll do.
But if you aren’t careful, it ends with disappointment. It ends with you at home in your pajamas, eating potato chips out of the bag and browsing other people’s vacation pictures on Facebook. You wonder: how is time to go back to school and what exactly happened to the last three months?
Summer is a great gift, an enormous block of time that’s yours to use however you want. It can also become a great waste, though.
How can a season of potential turn into a season of missed opportunity? Let me count the ways.
Here’s the advice you’ve been waiting for – how to totally, completely squander your summer vacation.
1. Pretend You’ll Never Have to Go Back to School
On the first day of summer, you feel an endless expanse of freedom stretching in front of you. School is over and it’s never coming back. You’re done with school, and you don’t have to ever worry about it again.
So what d’you do? You forget about everything you need to do to get ready for next semester. You stop studying for the SATs. You decide not to visit colleges. If school is never coming back, then logically you don’t need to use your summer to take care of all the stuff you’ll be too busy to do next semester.
Then sometime around July, something starts to feel wrong. You can’t put your finger on it, but the future doesn’t seem quite as bright as it once was. That endless expanse of freedom is now replaced by a subtle feeling of tightness in your chest.
By the time it’s August and you see that another school year is about to come crashing down on you like a ton of textbooks, you’re a deer in the headlights. It’s too late. Where did the summer go?
If you want your summer to be nothing more than three months of your life that you’ll never get back, telling yourself that school’s never going to start up again is an excellent way to go.
On the other hand, if you want to put your time to good use, don’t live in denial over the finite nature of summer vacation. The idea that summer will last forever is an illusion. Like all illusions, it’s about your brain lying to you.
Rejecting that lie means you can focus your summer on doing the things you won’t have time to do once school starts up again. Preparing for college, pursuing interests you won’t have as much time for during the school year, and so on.
It’s a sad truth in life that summer vacation really does end, every time, even this time.
2. Reinforce Your Comfort Zone
A wise man once said, “the purpose of summer vacation is to stay inside your comfort zone and narrow your horizons.” Words to live by.
Summer break is a time when the normal limits of the school year don’t apply, a time when you can push yourself to try new things, break out of old habits, explore the unfamiliar, and even do something that scares you a little.
So if you want to really make sure your summer vacation’s a flop, be careful not to let even one fingernail out of the safety of your comfort zone. If that seems like a tall order, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Watch as much TV as possible. Try to set a Guinness World Record for most TV watched in one summer.
- Ditto video games, Facebook, etc.
- Pass up any opportunity to take a class in something you aren’t familiar with.
- Whatever happens, absolutely do not take up any new hobbies or develop any new interests.
- If possible, try to avoid leaving your room for the entire length of the summer.
Follow these steps, and you can rest easy that you won’t risk challenging your comfort zone all summer. A sure way to have a completely unmemorable vacation in which you experience as little personal growth as possible.
3. Do Something You Hate to Impress Colleges
You might’ve heard by now that college admissions is competitive these days. Maybe you’ve also heard that summer activities can add another dimension to your application.
So the logical conclusion, of course, is that you should spend your summer doing something you absolutely cannot stand in order to impress colleges.
Not convinced? Think of it as a win-win: not only is doing something you’re not interested in one bit just to beef up your application likely to seem inauthentic and not very compelling to colleges, it’s also a guaranteed summer waster!
Sure, you could do something you actually enjoy, which might come across as more genuine. Yeah, you could develop a real interest you have, which would be more rewarding. But someone told you this other thing looks really good to potential colleges, and besides, maybe you’ll get some sort of extra credit for selflessly choosing an activity you hate just for the sake of college admissions committees?
Plus, your entire summer will be down the drain, and that is the ultimate goal here after all.
4. Avoid Touching Books at All Costs
Here’s a fun game to play: pretend that any and all books are scalding hot and that touching even the corner of a page of one book will inflict severe burns. The object of the game, of course, is to go your entire summer without coming within five feet of a book.
Reading books is a great way to keep your mind sharp while you’re on break, encounter new ideas, enrich your imagination, nurture your ability to think critically, and put yourself in a better position to excel in school next semester. Since the goal is to waste your summer, it goes without saying that you’re going to need to avoid picking up even one book at all costs.
5. Run Away Screaming If You Have the Chance to Get a Job
It might not sound as glamorous as an exotic trip abroad or a class at a prestigious university, but there’s probably no summer activity that will teach you as much as getting a job.
You might have other plans that prevent you from getting a summer job, but if you don’t, you’re going to want to make sure you get the hell out of Dodge if you catch even a hint of a whiff of an opportunity to work over the summer – it’s something that’s guaranteed to interfere with your goal of wasting your entire summer.
If you’re still on the fence or don’t believe me when I tell you that summer jobs are dangerous things that will prevent you from frittering away your summer, just remember:
- Working over the summer makes you a stronger college applicant. It demonstrates qualities like good work ethic, maturity and independence.
- Working over the summer will earn you money.
So if you want to waste your summer, much better to stay home and miss out on the real-world experience that comes with working a summer job.
6. Just Wait and Figure Out Your Plans Later
Maybe the easiest way of all to make sure you have a summer worth forgetting is to not plan ahead and let it all work itself out later. Then by the time you get into summer, it’ll be too late to make plans that let you capitalize on your gift of time.
Just put it off and don’t start figuring out what you’re going to do until after the last possible minute – that way there’s no danger you’ll accidentally wind up using your summer well.
Summer is almost here! Whatever happens, remember – make sure you don’t do anything fulfilling, rewarding or productive this summer!
By Niels V.