Staying on campus for the summer? Feel like you’re running out of things to do already? Well, I’m here to help spruce up the next couple months without classes for you. Not many people know this, but sleeping in your off-campus apartment all day actually does not count as “summer fun.” Columbus is a hot spot for festivals, events, restaurants, bars, shopping, you name it! You’ll miss it all if you’re inside all week, but it’s not too late to change up your schedule. Just follow these campus summer survival tips!
- Make “summer” friends. If most of your friends and roommates went home-home after finals, you probably feel pretty lonely from not seeing them everyday. Now is the perfect opportunity to branch out and make some new friends and memories. Get to know that rando who sublet your best friend’s bedroom for three months, or reach out to that cool kid in your student organization who you know is living here this summer, but you’ve never really talked to. School-year acquaintances can easily become bar buddies when you’re both fighting the same battle of loneliness in the summer. Attend fitness or art classes in the Short North to get started meeting off-campus friends as well, and use apps like Meetup or Eventbrite to help you find groups of people anytime. Sporting events and concerts are also great ways to find people with similar interests. After screaming for your favorite sports team or band, you’ll definitely build a bond. If you want to stay on campus, head over to Gateway’s Local ‘n Live on Fridays and Saturdays to hear local music and grab a beer, or check out one of their outdoor movies. The crowds are usually intimate enough to make some friends and agree to meet up for the next film.
- Use your free time to skill-build. Everyone has bucket-list things they would learn how to do if they had the time. I’s summer, you now have plenty of time to pursue your guilty-pleasure passions. Looking up YouTube tutorials online to learn a new skill is always quick and easy. Want to learn how to crochet? YouTube. Paint by number? YouTube. Mix music so you can become Midway’s next Friday night DJ? YouTube might help, but you’ll have to practice to get as big as Marshmello. If you want to connect with people while learning, look up the Student Life calendar to see when OUAB’s next OUAB in the Kitchen event is (yes, they still happen in the summer) or try a local fitness club while waiting for your school-year RPAC membership to reactivate in August. You can learn personal defense at Compass Defense Group (I might recommend learning that in preparation for the empty summer streets of campus late at night). My main point is, you can always find something new to fill your time. You’ll either hate it or love it, but at least now you know.
- Remember to go outside. It’s easy when you are feeling lonely or bored to spend all of your day inside. This is perfectly fine on occasion, but getting yourself outside is the key to perking up your day. Find an old path and go for a casual walk, it’s great exercise and you can work on replenishing your vitamin D that an Ohio winter/spring took away. Just a quick Google search for “walking paths in Columbus” will show you how close you are to good ol’ mother nature, even if you think she’s gone in the city. Alum Creek Trail is a great one if you’re looking for something beautiful and popular. Take advantage of that broken-beer-bottle-sprinkled patio at your summer sublet and listen to a podcast. Work on your summer tan, or if that’s not your thing, find a shady spot near Mirror Lake and grab a hammock and that best-seller book you’ve been meaning to read. (Are we asking too much of you by recommending reading?) Embrace the sunshine before the snow flies again.
- Explore small businesses. Columbus is full of places to explore, and I don’t only mean the classic COSI-like experiences, Short North cafes, or Clintonville flea markets. (Though all great picks.) Downtown itself has so much more to offer not just with indoor spaces—the Scioto river walk makes for a great evening sightseeing destination, and it even has swings so you can sit back and enjoy the view. Walking around the state house when it isn’t busy is more interesting than you’d think; it has tons of great architecture to admire. Plus, the lounges and bars downtown feel like a nice, mature break from campus, so hop in that Uber and try some new drinks!
- Plan “me” time. Some people who stay on campus are still taking courses over the summer or working multiple jobs just to say you didn’t live back home this year. If you are one of those people, know that you still deserve a summer break. Grades and paychecks are the most important things of course, but plan your time wisely so you have some “me” time between studying or cleaning toilets. This is one instance where I actually encourage an afternoon nap, but make it in the sun out on the Oval or in a hammock to really get those summer vibes going. If you’re not a huge fan of sitting directly in the sun, grab some headphones and head to Thompson library to get a window seat that’s finally open and watch Netflix to your heart’s delight.•