By Samantha Lund, Columnist

We spend all year cramming for tests and deciding what we want to do for the rest of our lives. It’s stressful. We all prepare to be free during the summer and finally escape tests and crazy long papers. But when summer is almost here, it is just as easy to stress about what you are going to choose to spend the next three months of your life doing.

I have been stressing over whether or not to find a job, go to summer school, stay at school, go home or just live out of my car and move to the nearest ocean for three months. On top of that, it seems like everyone on Facebook has plans, an amazing job or has decided to create a cure for cancer this summer.  But if you do not have plans for the summer, do not worry, because there is still time.

Summer plans for college students usually end up being one of two things: work your butt off to afford food next year or just get completely crazy. Let’s start with the easier one. If you decide to just let go and get crazy this summer one last time before you have to become a responsible adult with a paying job, here is some advice for you: stay away from strangers, stay away from drugs, always have sunscreen and bring a friend. That’s it. Go have fun. I am not your mother. Nobody is going to stop you.  You will not make money, you will not cure cancer and you will have effectively spent three months doing nothing but having fun. You will probably also gain some weight, just a warning.
If you choose to use this summer to work, do not start applying just anywhere. A summer job does not mean the same thing in college as it did in high school.  Summer jobs are now meant to be resume builders. Future employers want to see that you chose to build your skills on your own time and not just scoop ice cream for some quick summer cash.
With your attention on work over the summer, you should do something that takes focus or learn some skills that take time and most of your energy, because you normally would not be able to do these things while also juggling classes. This summer, take the time to do research and find a job that will help you in the future.

“I’m trying to work with Gig Harbor Life for an internship over the phone so I don’t have to commute from Olympia every day,” sophomore Natalie DeFord said. “I’m also hoping things work out so I can be a nanny as well for my mom’s coworker’s two adorable children. If everything goes well, I will be saving up to pay rent in the fall and getting experience.”

If you struggle to find a job and you are not successful, do not worry. There are other options if you still want to have a productive summer.
Summer school is a very good option. You do not need to spend too much money if you choose to attend a community college and you can get some general education requirements out of the way.

If participating in school all year is something that would absolutely kill you, there are other options. Volunteering can be a resume builder.
Interning is another resume builder even though it might not fill your bank account. Traveling can also make you feel like you have learned a lot without having to stay in school. There are many options and creative solutions to finding summer plans. Start looking, start thinking, start finding out what fits you. Most importantly enjoy your summer and come back safely next year with some new experiences under your belt, ready to work hard another year.

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