Finals are just around the corner, and we’re all trying to morph into the Little Engine That Could through the month of April while everything comes to a stressful academic close. It might be hard to buckle down and plow through all the piling work and upcoming tests, but sometimes it helps to have a simple list of optimistic possibilities that are waiting on the other side of the hill to help us get over it. Our destination of Mecca is the sweet siren call of the approaching summer months, and here are just a few things to get us motivated to plow through the finale of spring 2013.

1. Sunshine.

Sometimes, it’s nice to look forward to the little things. One thing you can be optimistic about is that once summer eventually rolls around after spring semester, which should be guaranteed by the balance of nature (despite Utah’s split-personality climate), we are guaranteed that smoldering summer sunshine our dear desert land is notable for. You outdoorsy folk are no longer bound by winter’s restrictions and may indulge in recreational activities anywhere across our fine Ogden landscape. I am personally excited for the wardrobe change that comes with summer weather, so that I might venture in my preferred wardrobe of tank tops, flowing skirts and summer dresses WITHOUT looking like I need to be put in a psych ward for failing to notice the temperature.

2. Extra time to work or pick up a new skill.

Less academic demand will mean more time, and what is time without a goal to invest it toward? While daydreaming about your summer itinerary, possibly include the idea of having more time to work or even picking up another/extra summer job for more cash. Money is always fun, right? Or even, instead of mindless work hours, use your newfound time to do something productive or creative you’ve always wanted to try, but didn’t have the time slot available during spring or fall.

For example, I have about three novels waiting to be worked on, an acoustic guitar that I’ve all but abandoned out of frustration and plenty of Mandarin Chinese language skills I need to brush up on for my minor. Guess who’ll soon have a moment to attempt those things? Whether I make any headway in them or not is to be left unexplored, but I will be darned if I don’t relish in the fact that I finally have the time to do them.

3. Vacations.

What is one of the phrases most synonymous with free time and great weather? “Road trip!”

I know plenty of people who have taken advantage of our state’s convenient location next to Nevada. Can you say “weekend in Vegas”? There’s also the potential for a slightly longer travel period to many other sparkling West Coast destinations. Seriously, California is right there. A random road trip during the summer may also be the bonding opportunity a group might be looking for. Nothing forces you to get to know another person well like being shoved into a barely air-conditioned car together for several miles, running on a constant caffeine buzz. You could also be fancy . . . and actually take a plane to somewhere out of the country. Might as well fly first class while you’re at it. Just make sure to save up!

4. Peace.

Even if you may be jumping right into summer semester classes, there’s a certain sigh of relief that seems to accompany the passing of spring and the beginning of summer. Most of the classes offered are seven-week hybrid classes, so anyone taking them at least still has a few weeks of downtime before jumping into another full-throttle semester.

I personally find that the best part of any kind of the academic break is the chance to go through some mental R&R. No matter what you do during summer break, whether it’s loading up on extra credits, extra shifts or extra memories, be sure to take a little extra time to recuperate. A zen moment every few days may just help keep the breakdowns away, and you’re going to need all the durability you can get when you do this ALL OVER again during next fall semester.

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