6 Weirdest Roadside Attractions to See on Your Summer Break Roadtrip

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Hitting the road during for an epic road trip is always a great idea — especially when you’re on summer break. Whether you’re going a few miles or traveling North America from east to west, there is so much to do and see. There’s especially no shortage of quirky and unique destinations for you to pull over and stretch your legs at. These are our favorite weirdest roadside attractions you absolutely must put on your map this summer.

Spend Summer Break Checking Out These 6 Unique Roadside Attractions

  1. World’s Largest Ball of Twine — Cawker City, Kansas

Photo via kansassampler.org

The name pretty much says it all: it’s a giant ball of twine. But here’s the kicker — it isn’t really the biggest. The competition is apparently fierce in the twine ball world, and in Darwin, Minnesota is the largest twine ball… rolled by one person. Why not see both and decide which one is best?

 

  1. Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail and Museum — Weldon Spring, Missouri

Photo via travelandleisure.com

Sure, it’s a little morbid to think about, but you’ll be entertained for at least an hour or two on this outdoor path and museum. It chronicles a shutdown nuclear waste site from World War II and educates the public on what the dangers of atomic weapon manufacturing.

 

  1. Fountain of Youth — Lewes, Delaware

Image via roadsideamerica.com

You probably don’t need it now, so stopping here isn’t a necessity unless you’re interested in folklore and a bit of weird mystery. Legend has it that the fountain was discovered by Dutch colonists in the 1600’s, but after it was given designation three hundred years later, the well went dry. Even the shell used to drink from the fountain is missing.

 

  1. Cadillac Ranch — Amarillo, Texas

Photo via thrillist.com

You’ve probably seen the iconic pictures of this attraction, so why not check it out? You’ll feel better about yourself knowing that it’s a work of art created by an art group called the Ant Farm. The artists took old cadillacs, spray painted them, and then placed them so that they are at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza.

 

  1. World’s Only Corn Palace — Mitchell, South Dakota

Image via travelsd.com

From afar, it looks a bit like an old-world palace for a duke or king. But in real life, it’s a structure in which, yearly, someone painstakingly glues corn, wheat, grass, and other agriculture to the outside. Every year is a different theme, so you can always come back for more.

 

  1. Lucy the Elephant — Margate, New Jersey

Photo via blogspot.com

This elephant is a bit more impressive than ones you’d see at a zoo. At six-stories tall and built in the 1880s, it is not only a giant, but it is the oldest roadside attraction in the United States. It went from being a restaurant, viewpoint, marketing ploy, and even a summer home. Today, you can still climb aboard.

 

Summer Adventures: End of Summer Bucket List

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End of Summer Break

The clock is ticking on the remaining time left in Summer 2016. The year to come will bring new classes, new challenges and new responsibilities, but it will also bring new adventures, fun and happiness. That said, make sure you’re tackling your end-of-summer bucket list to start the year off strong, motivated, and ready! Here’s my advice for finishing off the summer right.

Make One Last Trip

Be it the beach, amusement park, cabin or local garden, make sure to visit your favorite summer spot one last time.

Summer Break Beach

GIF via Giphy

 

Have One “Last Supper”

Does your mom make the best mac & cheese? Or maybe you have an absolute favorite restaurant that’s only in your hometown. Be sure to treat yourself to your favorite meal before returning to dining hall food until Thanksgiving.

Selena Gomez Eating

GIF via Tumblr

 

Get Together with Friends

While we know they’re just one call away during the semester, be sure to get some face-to-face time during one last summer hurrah.

Friends Saying Goodbye

GIF via Tumblr

 

Don’t Forget About Extended & Immediate Family!

Be sure to say goodbye to your siblings, grandparents, and anyone else you might not see until the holidays.

Saying Goodbye to Family

GIF via Tumblr

I hope you all enjoy these last few days of summer! Squeeze every last bit of joy out of it, and you’ll return back to school fully energized and ready to take on the year!

Our Favorite Ways to Eat Watermelon (Plus Recipes!)

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Watermelon Recipes

In honor of National Watermelon Day, we’re getting our favorite fruit out of the fridge and onto the counter. While you may love yours whole and fresh (who doesn’t), there’s actually a ton you can do with watermelon! This ultimate guide will give you ideas for just about any dish from appetizer to dessert and beyond.

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Appetizer: Watermelon Slices With Lime, Mint, and Honey

Watermelon slices are our absolute favorite pre-meal eats for a summer afternoon, but it can get boring after a few bites. Mix it up with a few extra ingredients to make it more of a wow factor.

Ingredients:

  • Watermelon, sliced in thick pieces
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • Handful of finely chopped mint

To make:

  1. Mix honey and lime in small pot and heat on medium-high for 1-3 minutes.
  2. Allow honey and lime to cool and then generously spread on watermelon slices. Top with mint for an extra kick.

 

Salad: Watermelon Salad With Feta and Almonds

When we think of a summer salad, we usually think of raspberries or strawberries, but watermelon is becoming a new favorite salad topping! We love how you can personalize this dish to make it your own.

Ingredients:

  • Leafy greens
  • Mint leafs
  • Tomatoes, preferably cherry or heirloom
  • Watermelon in cubes or small bites
  • Feta cheese
  • Slivered almonds
  • Raspberry vinaigrette dressing

To make:

  1. It’s as easy as taking all the ingredients and tossing together! Play around with dressings, nuts, and toppings.

 

Entrees: Watermelon and Shrimp Lettuce Wrap

We know it sounds weird to have watermelon in the main course, but it’s an added flavor that totally changes up a meal from bland to amazing! Plus, watermelon goes with a lot of meats and seafood, including pork and shrimp.

Ingredients:

  • Shrimp, tail off
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Romaine lettuce pieces
  • Watermelon cut in chunks
  • Feta cheese
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

To make:

  1. In a small pan, heat oil for 1-2 minutes on medium-low. In a dish, cover shrimp with garlic powder. Add shrimp and cook about 2 minutes on each side.
  2. Remove shrimp and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Spread lettuce and add shrimp, watermelon, and feta cheese. Sprinkle with vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Roll the lettuce up and serve as a wrap.

 

Desserts: Watermelon Popsicle

Sure, we get that you’re an adult with sophisticated tastes when it comes to your food choices. However, we can guarantee that you’ll go NUTS when you take a bite of a classic watermelon popsicle. It’s a flashback on childhood you won’t want to miss.

Ingredients:

  • Chopped watermelon (roughly 3-5 cups’ worth)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • Dash of salt

To make:

  1. In a blender, add all ingredients and blend until watermelon is liquid and sugar is fully dissolved. If needed, add more lime juice to taste.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and add popsicle sticks. Freeze and serve.

**Don’t have popsicle molds? No problem! By using ice cube trays, you can make watermelon ice cubes that are perfect to toss into your favorite juices, lemonades, and other summer drink mixes. Or you can stick toothpicks in them for mini-popsicles that make a great, guilt-free, refreshing treat!

Summer Adventures: Getting Through the Work Week

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Getting through work week

One of the greatest things about college schedules is that with the Monday/Wednesday/Friday and Tuesday/Thursday setup, weeks tend to absolutely fly by. However, that doesn’t tend to be the case on your summer work schedule.

Whether your summer job is just something you endure or you happen to be one of those lucky people who love their summer job, here are a few phases of getting through the work week. Coming to you in the middle of the current one, I hope to add a laugh or lift your spirits this Tuesday!

When your boss asks you to stay another hour at the end of your shift…

Having to Work Late

When your friends ask you to hang out any time before 5 PM on a workday…

Too Busy to Hang Out

When you explain to your coworkers how you handled a tricky situation that day…

Problem Solving at Work

When you successfully rush out the door at the end of the day before you get looped into doing anything else…

Leaving Work

When it’s finally payday but you also just got your credit card bill in the mail…

Payday and Bills

When none of it matters anymore because you finally made it to Friday…

T.G.I.F.

8 Tips for Saving Money over Summer Break

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Saving Money

College is expensive, so paying for it often means sacrificing some of the more pricier things we love. This is especially true during summer break, when temptations like nightly ice cream cones or that road trip to a beach destination may seem out of reach. Luckily, there are ways to live it up in the sun without dropping hundreds of dollars a week to make those memories. Here are our eight favorite top tips for saving money over summer break.

1.   Check Out the Community Calendar

If your community is like most, it probably has a calendar full of awesome activities you’d love to try. For example, many fair-weather towns do movies in the park, where they show classics under the stars. It beats hitting the theaters for $10 tickets and $5 popcorn when you can do it for free on a picnic blanket.

2.   Cost Compare Transportation

If you’re hitting the road for a trip with friends, check out a transportation calculator to determine if you’re really getting the cheapest deal. Train tickets, for example, can cost less than the price of gas and get you there – and comes without traffic or headaches.

3.   Don’t Buy — Make

When it comes to summer food, you’d probably be happy just hitting up food trucks every day. But instead of putting good money down on a hot dog, make it yourself! There are tons of awesome summer recipes out there from strawberry pies to homemade, vegan banana “ice cream”.

4.   Vacation at Home with a Staycation

Avoid the noisy airports and the hot car by sticking to your hometown this summer. Create a dream staycation including an inexpensive new lawn chair, unlimited lemonade, an inflatable pool, and a new bathing suit. All of those things cost far less than a trip to Cabo.

5.   Split the Cost

If your ideal summer is amusement parks, museums, sporting events, etc. try cutting your prices in half by splitting season tickets with a friend you trust. Most places allow you to add several names to your ticket membership, meaning you could get in for less if you plan it right.

6.   Clip Those Coupons

If you’re leery about splitting a ticket cost, coupon it instead! Many amusement parks or attractions have coupons out there on the Web, which you can find with a quick Google search. But plan ahead as tickets at the gate are usually way more expensive than if you buy online and with a promo code.

7.   Use Your ID Everywhere

You have one of the most valuable coupons right there in your wallet! Your college ID can get you in lots of places for less thanks to student discounts. This includes riding Amtrak for nearly half, scoring discount plane tickets, and getting into movies for less.

8.   Find the Free

Sometimes finding free over cheap is necessary, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck doing boring things. Instead, get out of the house by geocaching, going on a nature hike with friends, taking up biking or soccer, or volunteering in your community. With a little ingenuity, you can find plenty of awesome ideas that can make your summer fun cost less!

 

Summer Adventures: Making Time With Loved Ones

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College Summer Relationship

It’s summer: the season of campfires, goodies on the grill, fun in the sun, and romance. But between work, friends, family and other commitments, it can often be a challenge to fit a relationship into the mix. And if your college boyfriend/girlfriend happens to live in a different state, this can only further complicate things.

So that being said, how can you make time for your loved one? How can you make sure coworkers, friends and family understand? How can you maintain your relationship and enjoy the summer with them?

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I’ve been with my boyfriend Jared since the beginning of our freshman year at St. Michael’s College. Even though I live in Massachusetts and he lives in Maine, we’ve managed to work out two (soon to be three!) summers’ worth of quality time together!

 

Maintaining a College Relationship Over the Summer

Make plans.

Before things start to get too busy, arrange a time to go over your summer schedules together and find times that you know will work for the both of you. For example, if you both work Monday through Friday, you’ll know to plan for weekend get-togethers throughout the summer.

Make note of bigger events that you know of ahead of time, like family reunions, vacations, etc. so you can both plan around them.

Talk to family and friends.

If they’re good friends, they’ll understand that you’ll want to spend time with your significant other over the summer. To avoid any drama, however, make sure you’re spending time with them as well. And of course, it’s always a good idea to facilitate interaction between your friends and your significant other. Long story short, spend time with your friends alone, but also make sure to spend time with your friends and significant other in a group setting. Testing these grounds and creating that inclusive atmosphere from the get-go will ensure that your friends feel included, but also understand that you and your significant other need alone time as well.

If or when you run into an issue, have a conversation, preferably in person. Instead of getting defensive and confrontational, approach the situation calmly and respectfully — because chances are, it’s nothing personal against your boyfriend/girlfriend. Assure your friend that you love them and love spending time with them, but that you need time with your boo too. But if they need constant reassurance and have trouble respecting how you choose to spend your time, perhaps a more serious conversation is on the table.

Have fun!

At the end of the day, however and with whomever you decide to spend your summer, it’s all about having fun and making the most of it! Have adventures, make memories, and share the love!

 

Happy Summer!

 

 

Recipes: 4 Things You Can Grill on Campus

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Summer Grilling

‘Tis the season for barbecues, hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob. But without access to a real grill, cooking your summer favorites while living on campus can be quite the challenge. Luckily, there are ways to get around not having charcoal and a porch by utilizing what you have in a shared kitchen. Here’s how you can grill up a feast with just a little effort and creativity.

4 Meals You Can Grill On Campus

 

1. Mediterranean Kabobs

Need a quick, simple, and healthy grill meal? Lamb (or any other meat) kabobs are so easy to make, you’ll be kabob-ing just about any combo you can think of!

Ingredients:
● 2-4 wooden skewers
● 1 lb. lamb, chopped in chunks
● 1 red onion, cut in large circles
● Handful of cherry tomatoes
● Full mushrooms
● 1 tsp. minced garlic
● ½ cup olive oil

Directions:
● Use wooden skewers to place lamb, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms
● In a small bowl, mix olive oil and minced garlic.
● Turn on stove to medium and wait till warm. Pour mixture into pan.
● Place skewers on an oiled, flat surface pan and grill for 5-10 minutes on each side until lamb turns gray and onions are slightly translucent.

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2. Basic Ribs

Ribs? Really? Yes, you can make tasty, tender, sweet ribs in your dorm building kitchen as long as you have access to an oven and some tinfoil.

Ingredients:
● 3-4 lbs. ribs (serves 2-3 people)
● ½ package of dry rub mix
● ½ cup of bbq sauce

Directions:
● Preheat oven to 325°F.
● Use the dry rub mix to cover the ribs generously (use the whole package if you like lots of flavor).
● Place ribs in a baking pan and cover in foil. Cook for 2-3 hours.
● Remove, flip ribs over, and cover in bbq sauce. Cook for another ½ – 1 hour.

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3. Chicken Wings

Who needs a restaurant when you can make your own chicken wings in 10-20 minutes! Plus it gives you an opportunity to find your new favorite BBQ sauce.

Ingredients:
● 1-2 lbs. of chicken wings, skinless
● ¼ cup of milk
● 1 cup of flour
● 2 tbsp. of cooking oil
● Salt and pepper to taste
● BBQ sauce

Directions:
1. In a medium sized bowl, soak chicken wings with milk. Shake out excess and then put to the side.
2. In a ziplock bag, add flour, salt, and pepper. Place wet chicken in a few pieces at a time and then shake until they are covered. Shake again to remove extra flour.
3. In a larger, heated pan, add oil and then chicken one by one. Grill chicken on each side for about 3-5 minutes until cooked through. The “skin” should be pale but flakey.
4. While in the pan, add bbq sauce and stir to cover. Add flour if the sauce is too thin or doesn’t stick, add extra flour into the sauce.

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4. Crispy Corn on the Cob

Whether you’re a meat eater or a vegetarian, corn on the cob is standard grill food. But you can recreate it with just a pot of water and a heated grill.

Ingredients:
● 3 ears of corn, husk removed and clean (if you have a smaller pot, cut ears in half)
● 1 tbsp. of sugar
● Butter and salt to taste

Directions:
1. Fill the largest pot you have ¾ of the way with water, cover, and boil. Add corn and sugar to water and recover.
2. Corn will rise to the top when done, but cook a few extra minutes if you like your corn a little more tender. Dry off with a paper towel.
3. On a heated pan with butter or oil, place corn and allow to cook for about a minute on each side.
4. Add salt and butter before eating.

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Easy Ways to Get into the 4th of July Spirit

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4THJULY

 

Fourth of July is one of our favorite holidays of the year. There are just so many ways you can celebrate and show off your national pride. Pregaming for your Independence Day festivities can be easy and fun with these ideas for getting into the Fourth of July spirit!

Seven Easy Ways to Get Into the Fourth of July Spirit

 

1. Show off your red, white, and blue

Flag-­themed apparel is a must for all patriotic college students! Like any American holiday, half of the fun is in dressing up (re: ugly sweaters during the holidays, green for St. Patty’s). Pull out your favorite pair of blue jeans and coordinate with a red and white shirt and accessories! Or use this occasion as an excuse to wear white pants or skirts before Labor Day. Whatever you do, be sure your kicks match, too!

If you really want to show your American spirit, try painting your nails in the colors of the star­spangled banner ­­red, white, and blue.

2. Buy old­school fireworks

In most states, even ones that ban sales of bigger fireworks, your favorite light­ups from your childhood can be purchased pretty easily. Of course, we’re talking snakes, sparklers, and other innocent options. Be sure to read the directions and be super safe when using them! You can even take pictures with your sparklers spelling out U.S.A. They’ll make your Independence Day snap, crackle, and pop!

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3. Prepare your desserts

Fourth of July food usually revolves around the grill ­­ burgers, hot dogs, and other typical cookout items. But don’t forget your dessert! If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth, show it some love with red, white, and blue frosted cupcakes, vanilla cakes, or even chocolate cookies with colored jimmies. Better yet, seek out some star-shaped sprinkles from your local convenience store. For something even more creative, try baking a flag-striped cake with blueberries and strawberries or even colored Jell-O!

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4. Bone up on your history

You may think you know about the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence, but these stories are far more than just a bunch of old guys in a Philadelphia hall. If you’re a history nerd, pick up a book on George Washington or Benjamin Franklin.

If you want to add a bit of modern, fun flair to your celebration, rock out to the soundtrack to Hamilton, which features nearly all the main players in the Revolutionary War!

5. Host a movie marathon

Speaking of fun ways to celebrate American history, historical fiction is a great way to learn what happened and understand the emotions involved. Films like The Patriot and Johnny Tremaine will get you in the right mood. Or, go with modern super­patriotic movies like Independence Day or Air Force One to get your blood pumping.

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6. DIY Decorations

Whether you’re living at home or are in your first apartment, your place simply won’t be complete unless you decorate for the holiday. One of our favorite crafts you can do yourself are wreaths made from scraps of red, white, and blue material knotted around a hoop. You can also make inspirational wall art using inspiring images and quotes from our Founding Fathers. Go with something impressive sounding like, “Give me liberty or give me death,” or “Don’t tread on me” to sound extra patriotic on this most American of holidays!

7. Plan your fireworks viewing party

If you’re in a big city (or even a suburb or small town that goes all out for the Fourth), you’re going to need to do a bit of planning in order to get the best seats for viewing the fireworks shows.

Assemble all of your friends and figure out a ride situation. Stock up on all of your necessities – a throw blanket is necessary for sitting on the lawn, or you might opt for camping chairs instead. To make an evening out of it, bring along a picnic basket with hoagies and subs, soft drinks, and chips. Maybe even pack in a couple of those patriot cupcakes, too!

And to make it an unforgettable night, bring your own noisemakers and glow sticks to light up the night!

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OCM’s Recommended Reading List: Books for College Students

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OCM's Recommended Reading List- Books for College Students
Whether you live in the library or pick up the occasional bestseller here and there, it’s important for both your mind and soul that you get in some fun reading in between classes or during your breaks. To make it easier to find your next favorite book, we picked out a mix of classics, must-reads, beach books, and true stories that are made just for college students like you with characters experiencing some of the very same things you are.

 

OCM’s Recommended Reading List: Books for College Students

The Classics

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

You’ve probably more familiar with Salinger’s most popular work, The Catcher in the Rye. If you liked that one, you’ll love Franny and Zooey. It’s two short stories, each describing late-teenage girls discussing their discontent with life, college, and a world in which they view as fake and insincere. This is a perfect read if you like your drama with a side of philosophical talk.

 

The Paper Chase by John Jay Osborne, Jr.
Not exactly a classic, but this is pretty much required reading if you’re headed to the Ivy’s, are an ambitious student, or are planning on getting your law degree. It tells the story of a James Hart as he goes to law school at Harvard and meets a professor he becomes obsessed with. You’ll never look at a grade the same way after finishing this book.

 

The Must-Reads

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

If you’re a sports fan, especially baseball, this is an absolute must-have on your bookshelf. When a college baseball star’s life becomes complicated with fame and disappointment, his decisions affect more than just what happens on the field. It’s part romance, part philosophical, part modern epic.

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

On top of basically everyone’s reading list, you’ll figure out just why this book is so real, yet so hard to look away from. An obsessive writer of fan fiction, Cath is out of place at her school despite being talented. College drama only complicates the situation making her life stranger than fiction.


Beach Reads

Girl and Dream School by Blake Nelson

A two-parter, the first book, Girl, begins in high school, a great starting point for recent grads, and then moves to heroine Andrea headed off to college. But she quickly finds out it isn’t exactly what she expected or dreamed it to be. If you find college to be messy and complicated, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement with just about every experience Andrea has.

 

True Stories

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

It’s not really set in college, but it’s the perfect read if you think the best night out is a night in. With a ton of backed up research, you’ll learn just what makes you special, even if you have a harder time expressing it. And, you’ll be inspired to make the most of your personality in the classroom and in your future career.

 

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch is a brilliant computer science professor who has a passion for all things life, but when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he is faced with giving his last college talk. His lecture on achieving your dreams is a culmination of wisdom, advice, and inspiration that you will not soon forget when you finish the last page.

 

Things You MUST DO the Summer Before You Leave for College

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Must Do Summer

With your high school diploma in hand, you’re probably feeling like you’re ready to tackle the world! After all, you survived high school, and now you’ve got college coming in just a few short months. But while you may be used to spending your summers just relaxing and waiting for school to come to you, the summer before you leave for college is your time to make sure everything is order. Not sure where to begin? Here are the 5 things you must do the summer before you leave for college.

5 Things You Must Do the Summer Before You Leave for College

1.   Send Your Thank You Cards

Consider sending your first round of thank you cards to those who wrote your college recommendation letters, anyone who read through your application, and counselors that may have set up tours or interviews. Secondly, pen a few lines for family who gave valuable input or support along the way. Then don’t forget about meaningful teachers who made an impact on you. Some thoughtful words can go a long way in keeping those relationships strong post-graduation.

2.   Get in Bonding Time

A summer vacation with your parents and siblings may seem juvenile now that you’re no longer in high school. But truthfully, you’ll miss those vacations — and time spent with your family. If your parents haven’t already set aside some time to spend with you, do it yourself. Bonding time is also essential for those friends you won’t be going to college with. Sure, it’s hard to divide your time up over the summer to make sure you get your goodbyes and memories-worth with everyone, so consider throwing a pre-college going away party or a road trip to your favorite beach destination. Take a ton of pictures, because you’ll want keepsakes of those times when you’re away.

3.   Build Up Your Resume

It’s not required that you spend your summer working, but you should keep your future career in mind when making plans. Employers love to see that you had a great work ethic from an early age. If you’re not ready for a job, try volunteering instead. Find a cause or organization you care about and spend a few hours each week pitching in. If you’re planning on studying education, tutor summer school. If you’re going to be a veterinarian, get some hands on experience by walking dogs and cleaning kennels at the shelter. It’s time well-spent!

4.   Research and Prepare

College is almost certainly at the forefront of your mind, and we can’t blame you there! There are so many unknowns with what it will be like to live in the dorms or how your class schedule will be laid out for you. Summer is the ideal time to read up on what past alumni have to say. Many colleges now have programs all summer long that connect you with past or current students, set up mentoring, provide overnight experiences, or start the orientation early. If you haven’t already, sign up for any programming you can! By the time you officially start school in the fall, you’ll feel more ready than ever.

5.   Treat Yourself

Finally, don’t forget that in the midst of the hustle and potential chaos, this is your summer too. College can occasionally get pretty stressful, and the first few months, you will almost certainly go through some completely normal bouts of homesickness. We recommend setting up a summer that allows you to kick back, soak up some rays, detox any graduation-related stress, and enjoy your life as it is. After all, as soon as August and September roll around, your life will be totally different!