Summer strategies

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Paul Bogdan, Rhiannon Ward, John Cameron
Teenage Dreamers

In the depths of all-nighters, buried by books and notes, students’ thoughts inevitably wander to the blissful freedom that summer will bring. In the Carillon’s news section we told you about how some University of Regina students are passing the (precious few) sunny days. Now that the weather has finally begun to reflect the calendar, and the last of our school stress has melted from our shoulders, we at the Carillon are evaluating our seasonal plans. We all daydream goals and projects for these months; let’s hope our commitment to those is greater than our work ethic during finals.

For me, summer is about relaxing and retaining my sanity after a long winter of schoolwork, and that’s exactly what I plan to do. I generally don’t make a ton of summer plans because after a year of constantly having something to do or somewhere to be, the feeling of having absolutely nothing to accomplish on a sunny Saturday is rewarding beyond words. But while I’ll be doing nothing for the majority of my summer, there are a few things that I would like to accomplish.

After reading pages and pages of textbooks, I find myself savouring the thought of picking up a book for pleasure. Since I haven’t had to read something with reluctance since April (no spring classes for this slacker), the thought of actually sitting down with a book by choice is much less painful. This is a good thing considering I have a bad habit of going to bookstores, buying books, and never finding the time to read them. It would be nice to get through that stack of unread books this summer.

With all the stress of the school year, it’s incredibly easy to let physical wellbeing go during the school year. Between studying, working, and other things I’ve got going on in my life, my time at the gym gets cut severely, especially around midterms. Too often I’ll think to myself, “I’m busy tonight; I’ll go tomorrow” only to find myself repeating that phrase in my head night after night. With no schoolwork to fret about, it’d be nice to get back into a routine of going to the gym. Along with extra time, enjoyable weather makes it easier to keep myself physically fit. I’ve always found it more satisfying to run or bike outside as opposed to a treadmill or spin bike. It’s more rewarding to run around a lake on a beautiful day than have to stare at some sweaty dude for five kilometres.

Camping is also one of my favourite summer activities, and one that I don’t get to do enough. It’s so relaxing to get away from the city, forget about all the petty worries and concerns in your life, and sit around a fire with some friends for a few days. /pb


Each semester, when I should be writing papers, I make a list of all the things I’m going to do once I’m done with finals. This list is extensive and ambitious, likely beyond the scope of four months even if I didn’t work. That doesn’t stop me from creating this magical list year after year, though, because there is nothing more comforting than the thought of having the freedom to do those things if I so choose.

This year, my list contained a lot of the usual suspects:  sleeping in, reading for pleasure, brunch with friends, and camping trips. It also included my endless nemesis, fitness. Summer after summer I declare it to be the year I will get into shape. Some years are more successful than others, and I’ve certainly come a long way in the grand scheme of things. However, this summer has not been an active one for me. At least, not yet. I keep telling myself, “next week.” Thus far, none have become that week. I’ve gone on a couple of (difficult, terrible) runs, I’ve taken walks with friends once or twice, and I played Wii Sports one evening.

I’m not here to complain about having gainful employment, but unfortunately it has left me with very little time to pursue fitness or any other exciting summer fun. For instance, I haven’t yet taken in a drive-in movie on one of the few remaining outdoor screens in the province. I also haven’t watched an entire TV series on DVD.

That said, my weekends are full of both planned activities with loved ones and unplanned relaxation time. I’ve been reading actual novels, sitting down to eat meals, and sleeping at night, all luxuries unknown to many students during the semester. Whether or not I actually get around to, say, having a water fight or learning to knit, I’ll still consider my main summer pursuit of relaxation a success. /rw

 

Real talk: in addition to the conventional summer reading list, I almost always have a summer gaming list.

There’s a bunch of tedious blathering I could do here about games as a serious academic and critical interest of mine – how it’s a fresh and interesting medium, how it’s something I’ve watched sort of start to grow up with me, etcetera – and it would all be true. But it’s also because after a long, hot summer day spent exercising, at the office, cooking for myself or others, or out with friends, it’s nice to come home to a cool basement, crack open a beer, and throw myself into something blissfully fun for a couple of hours.

All that other stuff is really wonderful, of course. Working at the Carillon during the year is such an easy excuse to stay sedentary that I don’t even have the energy to hate myself for falling back on it, but exercising during the summer lets me stave off the onset of heart disease and diabetes – plus I can ride my bike, so I can exercise and go places at the same time, which is like winning some kind of sense-of-accomplishment lottery. Meanwhile, working at the Carillon during the summer is proving to let me accomplish at least a decent amount of the stuff I wish I’d had time to do during the fall and winter terms.

I can’t shut up about cooking, but summer lets me do all kinds of food-related things, and they’re all basically cathartic. On a cool, rainy day, I can work on my braising skills; on a nice, hot day, I can make myself a fresh salad or get my grill on. And during the summer I can bring my overly-fussy attempts at The Joy of Cooking’s appetizers section to potlucks while still managing my time enough to be fashionably, rather than horribly, late.

Obviously, whether they’re potlucks or not, any summertime hangs with my bros and lady-bros are the tops. You can actually go do things outside and during the day, which goes nicely in hand with the fact that during the school year I hardly even have the time to get a hangover. Not an issue during the summer, and bro hangs are the best cure.

But it’s also nice to sit down and take a look at what games I’ve missed in the last few years and at what’s coming out this year, and then to try to puff the ass-dent out of my futon mattress and get set up to spend some serious time doing something I really love without having to put aside things I need to do.

And yeah, that thing I really love is pretending to be a space marine who spends hours blasting bad dudes. Sometimes that’s all a summer really needs. /jc

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