Words by Kiana Duncan

What did I say in my first blog? The last day is like the first day: sweaty and awkward. You departed gross, exhausted, drained and left for dead. It’s as if that last chemistry exam really did beat you up and leave. Whether you’re a new sophomore or an upcoming freshman, one of the biggest challenges of school doesn’t prepare you for is summer.

You thought you wanted this. You thought that three months of hiking, eating out, working your mundane job and sitting in front of your computer was exactly what you needed after that emotionally exhausting year. And for a couple days, it totally was. Now you’ve finished four seasons of “Criminal Minds,” two seasons of “Jane the Virgin” and all of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” You had plans. You were going to teach your cat to walk on a leash. You were going to get healthy. Now you can’t even muster up the energy to roll over and finish your Hot Pocket.

Dude, I get it. Summer is rough. You wanted it to be awesome, but all you’re doing is working and watching Netflix. I gotchu. We’re gonna find a way to get you out of bed, dressed and.. I’m sorry, isn’t that enough? I’m not a miracle worker.

Get outdoors. I know, I know, I sound like your mom. My usual problem is that I watch Netflix for six hours straight, get bored and then feel like I’ve done nothing. Get outside, go on a walk or run, sit in the sun and read or walk your dog/cat. It helps your mood and helps you feel as though you’ve done something (even when you haven’t). Even taking your laptop out with you counts (in my book at least). Kent has some really cool trails, too!

Remember how much you’re earning at work. You’ve scooped ice cream for countless children. Their screams haunt your nightmares. Maybe you’ve told way too many soccer moms that you really don’t have their kid’s shoe size, and that there’s no way you’re getting that stain off the bathroom wall. Your 40 year old manager is still complaining about his divorce, and if one more customer complains about you not carrying her jeans in a size 000, you’re going to personally give her a pair of Barbie pants. Stupid Tiffany. Or, I could totally be wrong and you love your job at Michael Kors. I really, really hate you, Tiffany. However, remember that you are totally making bank and smile for that one older guy who always orders French onion soup. If you like kids, make their experience. If you hate kids (holla), tell them every time they don’t finish their ice cream, their dog dies. I’m a terrible person.

Retail therapy. Gawwwwd, am I guilty of this. When you are making bank, it’s so easy to keep your eye on that one cute bag in the back. I used to work at Victoria’s Secret and my paychecks would go directly toward yoga pants. I’m pathetic. However, it can be really fun to see how cheap you can get an outfit. You feel way less guilty when you can be thrifty and cruise Gabriel Brother’s with all the other moms and their families of 12. If you’re feeling a little burnt out, it’s OK to buy that new shirt! Especially if it takes your mind off getting up at 6 a.m. to fold more jeggings.

Plan ahead. Fear not! Summer is not an endless period of hot, sticky misery. Give yourself things to look forward to when you start to get bored. It could be your birthday in two weeks, or visiting your family in Florida this summer (provided they don’t ask you anything about your life). You may even be looking forward to that next paycheck or going grocery shopping (Wait, am I the only person who enjoys grocery shopping?) Make plans! Invite your high school friends to get dinner next week. Ya know, if they’re still cool. Like “steal a glass at Denny’s” cool. What?

Take trips. Lots of people think you need to take super amazing trips to places like Disney and Panama City and…I don’t know, where else do the kids go these days? #grandmastatus #partylikeits1942. I’ve taken road trips to some pretty cool places (Dayton, Pittsburgh, Cleveland) and some pretty stupid places (Adena, Zanesville, Fayeteville) and some that are just in between (just kidding, we live in Ohio). It’s not always about where you go, it’s about what you do. Don’t feel lame if you have an amazing time in Toledo. The real lameness is having a bad time in Miami and acting like it was amazing.

Visit your friends. Like I said, excuses to visit your college friends pretty much are your best plans over the summer. Anything to get out of your hodunk little town and into someone else’s. I had a friend visit me in Wheeling (Yes, West Virginia. Stop it. Stop your smirking.) and even though it might be the worst excuse for a city in existence, having someone there to share the crappiness with made it fun. There were some tourist attractions I had never been to. Iif you’re ever bored, come on and stop by wild, wonderful… you thought I was going to say West Virginia. Lol. Don’t come here.

Better yourself. Oh my God, oh my God. Calm down. I’m not saying you have to cure cancer or look like Kim K, but idk. Like maybe try a Lean Pocket instead of a Hot Pocket. Watch a new series on Netflix. If you’re feeling really ambitious, go on a run. Become an ordained minister. Learn how to sew. Volunteer somewhere, preferably with cats, maybe that’s just me. You don’t have to save the world, but even taking a little time to read a book a week or trying something new can help you feel more motivated.

Reward yourself with Netflix. At the end of the day, whether you’ve taken 30 steps outside or refused to let your parents sway your major decision, I’m proud of you, kiddo. After you’ve taken some time away from Netflix, you’re ready for an evening movie and bingeing on “Scandal.” Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Just remember, when you’re bored to tears, everyone else probably feels the same way. Except for that stupid girl in Miami. Tiffany.