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West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

Summer break: the year-round question

Dede Noupougbe ‘27 ends the discourse by giving the 5 best things to do this summer
Summer+break%3A+the+year-round+question
Dede Noupougbe

Stress, physical and mental fatigue, plus mind numbing boredom. Many students experience these feelings towards the end of the school year. A light at the end of the tunnel for ages K-12 is that the end of the school year means summer begins. Since the school year is coming to a close, many people are thinking about how they’re going to spend their 3 months of total bliss. The pressure of every summer being remarkable is even more immense with the time till adulthood quickly dwindling down. So, how do you spend your time to enjoy it to its fullest? Well the answer to that question is obvious. The top 5 things to do in the summer range from the obvious activities people spend all year longing for to underrated things you could do everyday. So, what exactly are these things you should do?

#5: Going to the Pool

Starting at #5, we have going to the pool. This is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of summer since it’s really something you can only do in the summer. Taking cute pictures, splash fights until the lifeguards stop you, and even the smell of chlorine itself are unforgettable memories that I feel like are ingrained in everyone’s minds. Other feelings you can only get from the pool are going down a humongous waterslide and the huge adrenaline rush you get and listening to any summer hit from the last decade there. Concession food is especially delicious after swimming for so long. Going to the pool overall deserves its spot because it’s such a classic and core part of summer, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its drawbacks. Eventually after playing Marco Polo, going down both of the pool’s slides, and swimming around the whole pool for the 100th time, the pool gets extremely boring. Unless you’re at Lost Island or another water park the pool has a really limited amount of activities. Though it can get dull, experiencing the pool at its peak is something you should definitely put on your summer to-do list.

#4: Walking/Driving Around Town

Not everything you do this summer has to be Phineas and Ferbesque in its complexity, simply walking around town takes 4th place! In the summer of 2023 this is what I spent most of my time doing and I would do anything to go back. That summer I was really just reflecting on having to go to high school and soon enough college and maybe leaving Iowa behind. It was quite melodramatic looking back, but now that many people are in their last 4 summers before college, possibly in Iowa, I think walking/driving around town is more valuable than ever. Walking around is a great way to explore your community and enjoy the nice weather in summer. If you aren’t a fan of bugs or melting from the sun’s heat, driving is another way to indulge in the community and discover places you never have before. I would still recommend walking, even as someone who dislikes both of the prior downsides, because something about breathing in the summer air as you wander around the area that feels like you’re in a movie. The warm atmosphere and the lush, vibrant flora of summer is so comforting and really shows its beauty. Walking is the perfect way to experience all of this.

#3: Family Cookouts

The 3rd best thing to do during the summer is going to family cookouts. This is an activity that doesn’t happen enough anymore. Not only do you get to enjoy delicious food, you spend time with family members you don’t see enough and even meet new members. The only downside is that without your favorite cousin or aunt there, it can be awkward trying to get to know new members of the family. Even so, the creativity of bored kids waiting for food always manages to make for great games and laughs whether you’ve been hanging out for the last 5 cookouts or met 10 minutes ago.

#2: Traveling

In 2nd place is surprisingly traveling. A lot of people would consider this their #1 favorite vacation activity, but it’s slightly lower on my list for small reasons. The process of getting there when I go on vacation somewhere outside the state is so stressful and irritating. Being crammed in a car with your sibling as they complain about needing to use the bathroom for 4 hours is sickening.  That aside, going on vacation somewhere outside the state is still really amazing. It’s like an enhanced version of all the reasons #4 was walking. It’s so fun exploring the world outside of Iowa and experiencing things that could never happen here. One of my favorite places to visit is the beach and I never would have even known this had I not gone to my home country, Togo, for a summer. In fact, before I actually visited the Ocean it’s vastness combined with the fact I couldn’t swim always scared me. Once I was actually there and able to smell the salty air, hear the soothing sound of waves crashing, and afrobeats playing as people had fun really showed me the wonder of the beach. Expanding your worldview is one of the best things you get out of traveling. 

#1: Going to Amusement Parks

Finally, going to amusement parks is the #1 best use of your time during summer vacation! Though I’ve only been to one amusement park in Iowa, Adventureland, the times I’ve been have always been unforgettable. Not only is this the most fun summer activity from the pure adrenaline rush you can get from a multitude of rides, there’s something for everyone even if you’re not a thrill seeker. I used to be terrified of roller coaster rides and still managed to have a great time at Adventureland on tamer rides like Lady Luck, a ride reminiscent of a fast carousel, and even the Ferris wheel. I loved going on some of the roller coasters like the Outlaw and the Tornado. It wasn’t just my enjoyment that made it so fun, seeing my parents and friends in a state of terror and amusement was so funny to see.  With a little bit of planning you’re able to get through really long lines. But either way I would say the memories are worth the wait.

As summer approaches just remember this, no matter where you are this summer, there’s always ways to enjoy it everyday. From spending time with family and friends to visiting places old and new, every moment in summer is a treasure. Take your time to appreciate every amazing aspect, because it won’t be long until you’re back waiting for it to start again.

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