Summertime and the Living is Easy

Times have changed and the summer nights once portrayed as quintessential Americana in films like “Dazed and Confused” have changed as well. Gone are the days when summer vacation was actually a vacation. Students are now interning and seeking out professional mentors at an ever earlier age as they attempt to differentiate and prepare themselves for their professional careers.

Overall, it feels as if the school year has turned into a full calendar year as we continue to partake in a never ending cycle of jobs, extracurriculars, classes, etc. Higher tuition costs and living expenses similarly make it a requisite for many students to work full time the entire summer.

Don't get me wrong, the increased competition is to be applauded and one's accomplishments are a better basis for admission to Harvard or a job at Apple than if you're a legacy applicant or not. However, students should also try to remember the importance of using summer as an opportunity to reenergize for the pending school year and partake in the things which we hold dear - whether that be family, friends, or the odd passion project. We need mental pauses in our lives; they provide an opportunity to digest our previous experiences and truly explore our dreams, goals, and desires. Finally, I'd also note that a change in scenery from our laptops and cell phones would be appreciated.

We thought we’d put a little list together of easy ways to unwind that are free and doable wherever you may find yourself this summer.

(This list is based in Chicago, but most cities should have similar free activities available)

  1. Meditate for Free using Insight Timer. Unlike other meditation apps that just have a free demo mode, Insight Timer, has the largest free library of guided meditations.

  2. Namaste! Most cities have a free yoga classes, but here is a list of Free Outdoor Yoga in Chicago.

  3. Watch a movie in the park. Take a date, or a picnic for one. This is the best time to be outside, so take advantage of it.

  4. Music festivals don’t need to be a costly thing. Check out the Grant Park Music Festival dates / times.

  5. Self Improvement. Whether, you want to learn how to dance, code, or a new language, community colleges often offer summer sessions that are more affordable than a private studio or a private university.

Martha Rodriguez