Dear UCR students,
First off, congratulations on finishing that last final. It was brutal, wasn’t it? Trust us, we know exactly how you felt. Or, if you’re a new, incoming student spending your orientation learning about your new college, congratulations on surviving high school. Whether it’s the last days of your high school years or the last final exam (for now) at last, after destroying (or at least getting past) that last seemingly immovable wall, that prosperous time of year has found its way into the hearts and minds of students everywhere — summer, and the release it brings from essays and midterms. When comparing summer and those tedious assignments, the summer day easily comes out this time as being the more lovely and temperate of the two.
But for those of us who have ever had more than two weeks off for summer vacation, something else inevitably sets in: boredom. While the endless attention-seeking “I’m bored” Facebook or Twitter updates can be obnoxious and irritating, there is a reason they’re out there: because people can’t think of anything to do with themselves when they have three months alone in the sprawls of Southern California and its unrelenting heat.
Just because you are confined to Riverside or the surrounding areas, however, doesn’t mean that summer can’t be a time where new horizons and explorations are made, along with a heap of new memories.
Rather than let the vast expanse of nothingness weigh you down, let the opportunity of free space be your great advantage. Though Riverside may seem quaint in scope of activities or large-scale, big-name events compared to some other cities, there is much more than meets the eye for students and whoever desires to go exploring and learn new things about the city and yourself while filling up the vast expanse of free time.
Places like Back to the Grind, among numerous others, usually have open mic nights weekly, and while this may seem like something you can do anytime, it’s never too early to have your first open mic experience. You can really make it something worth your while — meeting new people and holding out for that one amazing artist can make events as spontaneous as open mics an opportunity to make memories you’ll never forget. Who knows, someone you meet at a random night out at an open mic or other event downtown could happen to be a future great friend — but you’ll never find out if you don’t go out and see what’s out there.
Beyond that, there’s a plethora of eateries and bars downtown Riverside has to offer. Let’s face it: Some are hit-and-miss, but you’ll never know if you don’t try it. The same goes for the artistic events Riverside has going on during the baking summer heat. Sometimes they’re hard to find, but they are out there, and you can take advantage of them.
Even if you’re not feeling socially inclined on a certain day, but want to keep your mind sharp over summer, pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read. It can be extremely difficult to actually find time to read novels, comics, short stories or anything else you want to read during the hectic school year full of other things to do and full of assignments. If you’re already a UCR student, you have access to the wealth of material that all four of the school’s libraries contain over summer, whether they’re light novels or some of the more heavy-duty stuff. So now is the time to pick up whatever you’ve been wanting to read — 3 months should give you ample time to read nearly anything you’ve been wanting to get through (though we suggest starting now if you’re trying something as massive as, say, “Infinite Jest”).
The important thing really is to get into the spirit of it all. It’s unlikely that you’ll have another time in your life (or at least not for a while, or if you win the lottery) when you will have this much free time and this many options because of your age and position as a student. Your favorite bands in town? Go see them. A band you’ve never heard of is in town? Go see them. You’ve never been to a concert before? Go to a bunch of them!
This applies not just to just music performances but also to gaining new experiences in general. Volunteer opportunities abound in the Riverside area, and most organizations love having young people with energy representing their organization. It’s a way not only to fill your time, but to meet more new people and help gain different perspectives or points of view you may have not encountered before. And if it doesn’t turn out to be that fun, at least you’ve got something you can add to your resume.
So before you post that status or update about how bored you are, go find your opportunities. Make this the summer that you actually do something — and actually do something, not just say you’re going to do something. It’s such an easy trap to fall into just talking about how bored you are that it’s no wonder that many students fall into it. There’s hardly a student at this school, let alone any student, who has not wasted away some valuable summer time, complaining about boredom. This doesn’t mean don’t take time to relax — catching up on your Netflix queue has got to happen at some point — but it also means to not stand idly while you have the opportunity to make some summer magic happen.
So go make experiences. Do random stuff with friends. Or alone. Or read a book. Write a story. Make a film. Because come October, we don’t want to be wondering where all the time went, and how it all slipped languidly away.