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Top 10 things to look forward to this summer

With finals season right around the corner, we all need something to motivate us to finish the semester strong

  1. Saying goodbye to involuntary 7 a.m. wake-ups 

There is a huge difference between waking up at 7 a.m. to go to class versus waking up early because you want to — I know I will be savoring the opportunity to dictate my morning alarms this summer. Instead of my alarm blaring in my dorm room and scrambling to get to class, summer is the ideal time to wake up slowly, sip your coffee, watch the news and start your day on a much more peaceful note. I will not be sad to bid farewell to the early alarms and bitterly cold walks to class that constituted the majority of my first year. 

2. No more logging into U.Va. Collab — and the dreaded Duo two-factor authentication 

As we approach finals, it is difficult to imagine a world without U.Va. Collab and Duo two-factor authentication. In fact, it feels like my life revolves around the notifications, assignment submissions and announcements from professors. Having to use two-factor authentication to simply access my assignments is just another added barrier — I just want to do my work, not obtain top-secret information. Come summer, however, I will not dare touch these hideous apps, and I think my overall well-being will be better for it.

3. Awkward ice-breakers will become a memory of the past

“To break the ice, let’s all go around and share a fun fact about ourselves.” “Let’s play a round of two truths and lie.” These two statements send a chill down my spine. I would quite literally rather do anything other than conjure up a tidbit about myself that strikes the precarious balance between being interesting but not too weird yet also not too boring. You would think after being subjected to the pain of ice breakers countless times, I would be prepared — I am not. I spiral every time. As a society, can we please move past the notion of fun facts? I am begging. Pleading. Desperately. The good news is that summer is a time to escape dreadful ice breakers — and maybe contemplate what your fun fact will be for next semester. 

4. Enjoying a reprieve from the incessant construction on-grounds 

There is so much construction on Grounds that it can be really easy to just become numb to it. It usually just feels like a fact of existence here. In fact, for the first few months I barely noticed the construction — I think I was too consumed with more practical concerns, like remembering how to find my classes. Nevertheless, I am now anxiously anticipating going home to avoid all of the construction-related sights and sounds I encounter while walking around. I mean, who doesn’t love bumping into a row of portapotties on your walk to an 8:30 a.m. discussion section? It really adds to the ambiance. 

5. Having more time to do things simply because they are fun 

The fast-paced nature of life during the school year makes me feel like I am glued to my calendar — if it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening. Just thinking about putting my planner to rest over the summer is liberating. With extra free time, you can do things you otherwise would not leave room for in your schedule. I am dreaming of summer days by the pool, on the beach, riding my bike, playing tennis and reading. I am also looking forward to catching up on all of my favorite shows that I neglected to watch during the semester.

6. Warmer weather, blue skies and sunshine 

Remember when you had to wear a huge puffer and by the time you got to class, it felt like your hands might fall off from frostbite? And you didn’t see the sunlight for months? Now picture this — you are sitting outside, eating dinner fresh off the grill and the sun is still out at 7:30 p.m. You didn’t spend the whole day in the library — you swam and went on a bike ride. You aren’t listening to your professor nag your class about a 70 percent class average — you are laughing with your brother. You are simply thriving in your summertime era. 

7. Extra space and alone time 

Even if you have the most perfect roommate, living with someone is no easy feat. Going home for the summer means being able to have more control over your living space. Want to keep the temperature on the coolest setting? Nobody will bat an eye. Want to wake up whenever you want and dry your hair? It’s all fair game. So the next time your roommate has lights on at 3 a.m., remind yourself of the delightful freedom that is on your horizon. 

8. Spending time with your family and friends 

One of the most upsetting aspects of adjusting to college life was being apart from my parents. I am lucky to have parents who I love to spend time with — and I have missed them immensely during the school year. Our interactions won’t be limited to texts and phone calls anymore, which makes me thrilled. Summer is the ultimate time to enjoy the tiny traditions that you miss while you are away from home. For me, this means taking the New York Times Weekly News Quiz on Sunday mornings and competing for the highest score over coffee with my family. Even seeing your neighbors or going for walks around your neighborhood is something to look forward to this summer. 

9. Doing the things you can’t do while in Charlottesville

After spending the past year in Charlottesville, I am reminded of all the things I love about being home. Spending time on the beach ranks high on my own list of summer priorities and as a self-proclaimed foodie, eating at my favorite local places is also a priority — I can already taste my treasured turkey sandwich with a fresh tomato, pickles, avocado and Taste Unlimited house dressing. Remembering to do tiny things over the summer that you can’t do during the school year makes summer even more of a treat. 

10. Reflecting on your year and all the amazing things you accomplished

Wow — we have all made it through a long year. As a first-year, this year was exceptionally difficult. Adjusting to being away from my family, to new styles of classes and to the often stressful environment here was both exhausting and rewarding. Using the summer to reflect on how far you have come from the beginning of the year is a great way to give yourself credit for simply doing your best. After emerging on the other side of two incredibly grueling years of the pandemic, we all deserve to rest and give ourselves a pat on the back. 

Cheers to the summer — regardless of where you find yourself, I hope it is restful, enjoyable and spent with the people who bring you joy. 

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