Vines: Don’t squander away your summer


Katy Vines, Columnist

By this time, almost everyone at Northwestern is looking forward to the end of the quarter because summer is just around the corner. We cannot wait to stay up all night with friends, sleep all day, watch Netflix and have few responsibilities compared to the number we have during the school year. But summer should be about more than just being lazy, and there are so many useful ways we can spend our time.

A great way to spend the summer is to do the things that you don’t have time for during the school year. This can be the simplest of things, such as spending quality time with your family. Most NU students live on campus or near campus, away from home, which can cause students to develop independence from their family. This, combined with the general tendency to treat summer as one big party, can often hinder students from devoting enough time to family. Summer break provides three whole months to catch up with immediate and distant family that you would not otherwise have time to see during the school year.

Another activity that is seldom practiced during the school year is reading for fun. Before starting college, I was constantly reading a book for my own pleasure; as soon as I finished one, I would start a new one. However, at NU, each of my classes gave out required readings and other homework assignments every night. Combined with all of the other activities and opportunities on campus, these obligations left little time for independent reading. I’m excited to have three whole months during which I can spend my day reading without worrying about other impending responsibilities or obligations.

One of the most common summer activities for college students is to find a temporary job. This is a great idea because many students do not have the time to dedicate to a job during the school year, but the benefits of having a job are immense. Jobs teach specific skills that can be used later on in careers such as customer service and money-handing, as well as more general skills like punctuality and responsibility. This can all be great practice for the future, without the burden of juggling both the job and school.

Finally, while we all love to go to parties and hang out with friends over the summer, there are other, more beneficial ways of doing so. Summer break provides an opportunity to travel and discover more about people and the world. Travelling is a perfect way to spend time with friends while also enriching your life. In a few years we will all graduate and move on to the “real” world with careers and then families. This summer, we are old enough to travel without our parents and young enough to not have very many responsibilities. There is so much to see in our country and in the world, and the best time to see everything is right now.

This summer is overflowing with potential for greatness. Whether it is as simple as reading a book or as complex as planning a trip to see all of Europe, the break can truly be more enriching than lying in bed all day watching the television. Make the most of this summer by making time for the things you aren’t able to do during the other nine months of the year.

Katy Vines is a Weinberg freshman. She can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected].