I’m surprised I don’t envy my summer vacation days from elementary school.

Three months of a purely comatose state on the couch, mindlessly flipping through TV channels, surfing the interwebs and essentially being completely chill and not worrying about a single thing. After a rough semester with weekly all-nighters, insane amounts of homework and questionably unnecessary social obligations, the image of laying on my couch and doing absolutely nothing was beyond paradisal.

Now, I’m up at midnight on a weekday writing an editorial, and will probably be up for some time working on the first issue of the Nique’s 99th volume, after an 8-hour workday in a rigorous chemistry lab.
“Three months of breaking from the routine…not just for pure relaxation and entertainment, but also for self development.”

I think, however, that there is something to be said about productivity in the summertime and, in particular, the kind of experience this season can foster and add to their life.

Think about it. While a good eight to nine months of the year are devoted, for the average college student, to academic studies (lest he or she attend U[sic]GA), the remaining three months offer a respite from the relatively monotonous doldrums of classes. Three months of breaking from the routine and trying something different – not just for pure relaxation and entertainment, but also for self development.

This isn’t to limit my opinion to those who get no play during fall or spring. Although many students are able to live it up during the semester, I feel that most are susceptible to falling into a routine. For example, while, as a friend of mine likes to say, getting turnt up on the weekends is plenty entertaining and the maintains the play in “work hard, play hard”, most students may not do anything that differs from a methodical frat-hopping way of getting turnt up.

But the summertime offers a great way to expand on these scenarios – for me, I think the best way to capitalize on this free-time is through a job and using most spare-time in doing interesting activities.

Having a summer job not only can help finance additional side activities you may want to engage in, as well as saving money for the regular semesters, but also help keep the mind mentally engaged and acute to critical thinking challenges that are encountered both in the workplace and in school.

Although a 8-hour workday can be taxing, either mentally or physically, the true benefit is, and at times should be, the ability to leave work at work and enjoy home. This extra time after work, which during the semester is generally spent doing homework, extracurricular activities or the routine methods of relaxation, provides an opportunity to expand one’s self out of the comfort zones that Tech sometimes makes it so easy to stay inside of.

This is limited to merely socializing – but rather, taking advantage of unique activities that build some sort of interesting skill.

For example, think about how much more of an interesting person you would be if you took, say, a class on beer brewing or sushi rolling. And how about skydiving or  taking a bike tour of the Atlanta Beltline. And this is just local – imagine the endless possibilities of being able to work in another location or abroad. Finally, this could even be a time to revisit old activities that were once cherished – such as volunteering, reading books for pleasure or woodworking.

Strapped on cash? No problem. The beauty of living in a big city like Atlanta is the large deals that Living Social and Groupon have for various activities – notably, their 50 percent off for whatever activity.

For me, researching during the week, taking an online class on Coursera to supplement the work I do in lab, and working at the Nique are ways I’m able to keep my mind up and running. But on the weekends and days when I get off work, I’m either relishing my time in the gym, exploring the Atlantan boroughs and experimenting with entirely random cuisine in the comfort of my kitchen.

If you play your cards right – and being at Tech you most likely are – you have your entire retirement to relax. So why waste the precious time of energetic youth in doing just that?