With summer right around the corner, figuring out what to plan for the break can feel bittersweet. It can feel challenging to not let the days off from school go to waste, or it can feel exciting to plan the many adventures with your friends and family you can embark on. Instead of sleeping the summer away, try these tips to have some stories to tell your friends when it’s over.

Make a Summer Bucket List

Grab a few friends and head over to Michaels or Walmart. Buy a big white sheet of paper and markers or any art supplies you have on hand. Pick up some snacks or pizza and host a date with your friends to create a summer bucket list of all the activities you want to do together or individually. Once you’ve finalized at least ten fun activities to do, it is time to write it down on your poster board. I recommend writing with pencil before going over it with a marker of your choice. If you and your friends have decided to do a group bucket list, it can be fun to write down some deadlines for some of the activities as a little challenge.

Instead of making goals like “read more books” or “go to the beach,” try to be more specific; rather, make plans to “read four summer romance books by Aug. 1” or “go to the beach three times before the end of June.” These goals will solidify your plans and not let them just be words written on paper. Once you’ve made plans with a deadline, begin transferring your plans to your calendar to remind you of any events you made. Make sure to place the bucket list in a room you’ll frequent if you made it individually, or if it’s a group endeavor, keep it at a communal hangout spot. 

Get a Summer Job

Accomplishing summer plans is much easier when you have money. Plan your dates according to your budget and if you’re lacking funds, take the time now to look for summer opportunities to expand your wallet. Enjoy the opportunity to clock in long hours at work without the worry of schoolwork before the summer is over. Juggling a job and a heavy course load can make gaining income difficult, so take advantage of your time away from school to pad your bank account. Whether it’s applying to a fast food restaurant that will give you perks like discounted or free food, or working a retail job at the mall that will also come with an employee discount, make use of the summer and the free time. Use your time to generate an income to support your summer plans. 

Hit the Gym

A gym membership offers amenities that you may not often have time for during the year. For example, gyms like LA Fitness come with a pool and sauna that can accommodate an evening of relaxation. Some gyms also offer free classes such as pilates and zumba; these make for great self-care opportunities or the perfect gym date with a friend! If a gym membership is not in your budget, running at a local park or around your neighborhood works just as well. Target and Walmart also sell exercise gear at an affordable price for at-home workouts that can save you time and money. 

Remember, summer can be a great time to lounge around and catch up on much-needed sleep, but it’s also a great opportunity to try new hobbies and meet new people. It’s time to keep yourself busy and commit to self-improvement!