After college, the word summer just doesn’t have the same meaning to it anymore. It isn’t a 3-month long break for vacations, sleeping in, days spent by the pool, 2 am nights out with friends, and maybe an internship or part-time job with an end date in sight. Once you enter the working world, summer is just another season.
I graduated from college a little over a year ago and have been working full-time since October, so this is my first real post-college summer without any long breaks or transitions, and summer just seemed to pop up out of nowhere. There are no “last days” anymore to signify the start of the season; one hot, sunny day you head to work, and you just realize it’s here.
One thing you know for sure is that summer is winding down when you start hearing and seeing advertisements for back-to-school season. So before you let the summer pass you by completely, find ways to enjoy it to the fullest (even if you are sealed into a 9-to-5 schedule), and get back the feeling you used to have when summer meant something greater.
Don’t Forget To Use Your Vacation Days
Just because you don’t have plans to go on a tropical vacation this summer doesn’t mean you can’t use your vacation days. Plan a “staycation” and take a couple days off to relax at home. Relive your summers as a carefree teenager, sleep in, and stay in your pajamas till the afternoon. Of course being a hard worker is important, but so is giving yourself a break to unwind. It doesn’t matter if you use your time off to binge watch a TV show on Netflix while stuffing popcorn in your face, or if you spend it hanging by a pool with a drink in your hand. Do what makes you happy, and it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Go On Mini Weekend Trips
Weekends become so much more valuable in the post-grad realm. Too much free time on Saturdays and Sundays now makes me antsy. While it’s nice to sit around during the day sometimes, I’d rather fill my weekends up with fun or productive activities. A weeklong vacation may not be in the cards, but why not a quick weekend trip away? Head to the nearest beach, go on a camping trip if that’s your thing, hit up a music festival, take a road trip to somewhere you’ve never been, or travel to see friends or relatives that don’t live in your vicinity. Do something out of your comfort zone. Years from now, you probably won’t remember the details of your daily work routine, but the memories from a spontaneous weekend trip will stay.
Take Advantage Of Your Lunch Break
Obviously there’s no time for road trips during a short lunch break, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit indoors and eat at your desk. Why not get up and go outside for a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood? Explore the different stores and restaurants nearby, find a park and eat your lunch there, or just sit on a bench outside and enjoy the fresh air. Take a moment and think back to the winter. Maybe you like walking on icy sidewalks in 15-degree weather, but I’m pretty sure I’d rather spend my time outdoors under the sun. Plus, it’s good for you, so take advantage of this season’s weather before its time is up.
Go Out On A Weeknight, Even If You’re Tired
Remember in college when you’d go out on a Tuesday night even if you had class early the next morning? Now, even thinking about going out on a weeknight makes me tired. Even the hardest partier can turn into a “grandma” after college ends. It can be so much more satisfying sometimes to just get home and be in bed by 11 pm with your cat snuggled up next to you rather than go out for happy hour or meet up with some old friends for dinner. But it’s summer. The days are longer, and you’re not a grandma yet. Stray from your routine every once in a while and be a little rebellious. Sleep is important, but so is having fun.
Things may be different now, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire summer a certain way. Don’t let the seasons blur together into one giant mass of work, work, and more work. Make this summer stand out.