12 Ways To Enjoy The Summer With Friends

During the winter months, everyone around me sees a winter wonderland with snow angels, igloos, and hot chocolate. I see a death trap with black ice, wet socks, and poofy jackets that make me look like a marshmallow. I’d gladly take the hot summer any day. When you go to a college in a region that experiences all four seasons, you don’t actually get to enjoy the summer on campus with friends. In New York, it starts getting chilly around October, and even when spring officially begins in March, we often still have cold weather through May! But I think we’re finally starting to see more sunlight and more gorgeous weather, which hopefully isn’t just a fluke. That said, it’s the perfect time for hanging out with friends and making memories. Whether you’re chilling with friends from your hometown who you haven’t seen all year, or you’re meeting up with your new college pals you saw just a few weeks ago (though, it feels like a year), here are some ways you and your friends can have some fun this summer.

1. Attend a free outdoor festival.

Be on the lookout for food and art festivals in your neighborhood. I go to school on Long Island and there’s always some sort of festival happening around the spring and summer — the Oyster Festival, Lobster Festival, music festivals. You can get into these festivals for little to no money, and you can spend as long as you want and try everything you see. A quick search on Google for fun festivals in the area should give you some ideas.

2. Go to the beach.

This can be a meticulously planned day-long trip or a spur of the moment stop for an hour or so. You can never go wrong with taking photos while your hair blows in the breeze, or building sand castles and collecting pretty rocks. If you decide to go for the entire day, make sure you come prepared with sunscreen, water to keep you hydrated, and cute sunglasses so you look as sharp as the sun.

12 Ways To Enjoy The Summer With Friends

3. Go for an ice cream run.

Well, unless you or one of your friends is lactose intolerant. In that case, go for a dairy-free ice cream run. One time, my friends and I stopped by this ice cream shop in town that was known for having the best ice cream in the area and it was SO good! Turn it into a journey for finding the best place for soft serve. You can also never go wrong with hitting up a childhood favorite for a vanilla cone with sprinkles.

12 Ways To Enjoy The Summer With Friends

4. Make ice cream together.

On the other hand, if you’re really feeling your inner culinary genius, try making your own ice cream at home. I’ve done it when I got bored of eating whatever’s from the store, because it’s so easy to really customize it and turn it into something of your own. If you’re going for a plain vanilla ice cream, simply whip up some heavy whipping cream until you see peaks (but not butter!) and mix in condensed milk. Freeze and you’re ready to eat! From there you can add whatever toppings and things you want, and you can turn this activity into an ice cream party for you and your friends.

5. Have a picnic in the park. 

It has been my dream to have a picnic photoshoot. You can invite as many friends as you’d like, and you don’t have to worry about there not being enough space because you’re outdoors and there’s certainly room for everyone. It can be a potluck-type of picnic where everyone brings some food or drink item to share so one person doesn’t have to do all the work.

6. Go for a run and turn it into a routine.

This is perfect for hanging out with friends from your hometown. You can plan a daily or weekly run through the neighborhood with them to make up for not being able to see each other all year. This is a great way to reach any health and fitness goals with a buddy. And if running isn’t your cup of tea, you can always walk or get creative and do outdoor yoga.

Related: How To Make Time For Going To The Gym In College

7. Have an outdoor photoshoot. 

I used to hate taking pictures of myself in high school, but when I started blogging I began taking photos more and, well, sometimes I needed to be in them. Now I love, love, LOVE having photoshoots with friends and I always have so many ideas for them. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to fun photoshoots I want to do, and you don’t even need a fancy DSLR — an iPhone would be great for the job. You never know when you’ll need a really good photo of yourself!

12 Ways To Enjoy The Summer With Friends

8. Attend an outdoor concert. 

Check to see if there are any free concerts happening in your area this summer. I know in New York City, there are free concerts happening throughout the summer for various artists. This is a fun way to get to see a singer you really like without having to pay hundreds of dollars for a ticket. And afterwards, you and your friends can hang out ad grab a bite to eat at a local shop. Be sure to check out my concert checklist for tips on what to bring with you!

9. Have a pool party in your backyard. 

I recently got a lip-shaped pool float from my internship and it’s so cool and so pretty and I’m dying to get it in the water. I don’t know how to swim, so I guess it works for me. But if you’re just using an inflatable pool in your backyard, you don’t really need to know how to swim, and you also don’t have to drive to a public pool. Blow one up that’s big enough for you and your friends, fill it with water, grab some sodas or even some fancy *adult* beverages and chill.

10. Attend a conference together. 

I know conferences sound boring, but there are actually some really cool ones for millennials that you can look into. They’re great ways to hang out with your besties, meet new people, and forward your career while learning new things. Her Conference is definitely my favorite. I went last year and had a blast, so I’m obviously super excited for this year’s. Pick a conference together, but also remember that you may need to book tickets in advanced.

By the way, if you’re curious about my Her Conference experience, be sure to read my post on the 19 things I learned from it.

11. Go on a tour of your city. 

While I visit New York City more often than I visit (the dentist? my neighborhood library? office hours?) I still have never gone on an actual tour of the place. I’ve always thought those red double decker tour buses looked cool, but I’ve never hopped on one for sightseeing. This is a cool idea for you and your friends, especially if you don’t always go to your nearest metro city. You might even discover a few new favorites.

Related: The Awkward Traveler’s Guide To Manhattan Part One: Basics + Battery Park

12. Hit the highway for a road trip. 

A road trip can be anywhere from Brooklyn to Montauk, or from Vermont to California. It’s all up to you and how long you’re willing to tolerate all your friends in one cramped car. Just kidding. But a road trip would be the perfect way to catch up with hometown friends or make new memories with college buddies. All you need is a car, a friend who can drive, and the wind in your hair.

What are your ideas for hanging out with friends this summer? 

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10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

how to make new friends in college

Social life can play a big part in your college experience, whether you want to believe it or not. You don’t need to be the most popular kid on campus, and let’s be real, that contest has “cliche high school food pyramid movie” written all over it. I like surrounding myself with people because I find that I enjoy all my experiences more (yes, even studying!!) when I have friends with me. I know, it feels like forever since we had to introduce ourselves to new people, and actually get to know someone, so it may feel like you’re a little lost (a.k.a. me almost my entire first semester!!!!!).

There is no concrete “method” for making new friends in college guaranteed — you won’t make one little change and then end up with 50 new friends in a few days. But you can try doing a few different things to get to know some new people and possibly become friends with them.

1. Don’t hole up in your room all day long.

I made this horrible mistake for my first few months as a college freshman, and I honestly regret it. I didn’t know how to talk to people or how to make new friends since I haven’t had to get to know new people since high school. I was also too comfortable with the two friends I did have, so if they didn’t want to go to an event that I wanted to go to, I just decided that I should stay in because I didn’t know how to do things by myself. Eventually, I realized that that kind of attitude was holding me back from getting to know people, so I started going to events, taking up recreational classes, and thus began making new, amazing friends! Moral of the story: unless your dorm room has some magical gravitational pull that just attracts potential new friends without even trying, don’t hide in there all semester.

2. Get to know your roommate.

Your roommate could end up being your first new college friend, so don’t squander any potential opportunities to become friends with them. Get to know a little bit about where they’re from, what their major is and why they’re interested in the field, and other cool details. There’s so much you can bond over with your roommate. And if you live in a suite, the more the merrier! You’ll have the opportunity to get to know even more people. If you live in corridor-style accommodations, it might be even easier for you to get to know all the people on your floor because you’ll be sharing a bathroom with them and will be able to see them almost everyday. Did you check out my post on what to do before you meet your roommate? It could really help you avoid any potential conflicts with them!

3. Remain committed to the clubs you join.

It’s really easy to just sign your name and email on a sheet of paper for a club at the club fair, but don’t attend three meetings for the entire semester and then stop going to meetings; you won’t actually be able to enjoy the club and you’ll definitely miss out on getting to know a group of great people. Pre-professional clubs on campus are a great way to meet people who have similar career goals as you. You’ll definitely be able to help each other out and become great friends. Also consider joining Greek Life. Not every organization will be for you or have the same values as you, so don’t let some digging around deter you from joining something that can really change your life.

4. Small classes are the best for making new friends.

I say this because it may be a little difficult to do this if your class is in a lecture hall with 300+ people, but if you have even one college class that’s really small it’ll be really easy to make casual conversation with a classmate. In my Italian class, the professor makes us do textbook exercises in small groups, so this is the perfect way for me to talk to my classmates and get to know some of them. I actually already made a new friend this semester from that class! You don’t do group work in large lecture halls. You’re lucky if the professor puts a problem on the board and asks you to turn to your neighbor and discuss it for a minute, but that rarely happens. All of my journalism classes are really small (under 20 people) so it’s a great way for me to get to know people. Also, small classes usually begin with some type of icebreaker or with the professor asking for everyone to introduce themselves, so at the very least you’ll know everyone’s names.

5. You might only get one chance to add them on social media and get their phone number!

The other night, my floor had a meeting so we can all socialize and get to know one another and I met some really cool people, except I forgot to ask them if they had Facebook accounts so we could connect with each other. And I couldn’t find them on Facebook myself because I didn’t even know their last names. Oops. If you speak to someone and they seem cool and you guys get along, don’t forget to ask for their social media or even ask for their number. Asking for someone’s number isn’t as terrifying as it seems (if you remember to do it, unlike me!!!). When I was a freshman I was always surprised by how quick the people I met were to ask for my number. It showed me that there’s no harm in wanting to text someone one day to grab lunch or to go to an event. This also made me more likely to ask someone else for their number because you may not miraculously run into them again.

7. Actually message them to go grab some food or hang out.

After you get their number, don’t forget to actually use it, especially if the two of you really hit it off! One day I decided to take a Zumba class at the rec center on campus and I met a cool girl there. We exchanged numbers and the following week I messaged her to see if she was planning to go to Zumba again, and lucky for me it was a yes. From then on we met up and walked to the rec center together and we’ve been doing that for three semesters! Sometimes all it takes is that one text to start a real friendship. Even if you aren’t usually the kind of person to reach out to ask someone you just met to hang out, give it a try and see where it goes. I have already learned from experience that it’s rare to have incredible experiences if you keep staying in your comfort zone; besides, college is a lot about trying new things!

8. The first few months of school are the least awkward time to meet new people.

I say this because during the first maybe two or three months, everyone wants to get to know everyone; people don’t really have their “groups” formed yet; and people are generally the most friendly at this time when the course load hasn’t yet spurred the urgency to stop hanging out with people and start getting down to business (ah, what a rush that is). I’m not saying that it’s *ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN* to try to make friends after the first three months of school, or worse yet, if you do try to make friends afterward *ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WILL TALK TO YOU*, but you might feel a little awkward trying to meet new people then. I know I definitely felt like it was ‘too late’ for me to meet new people and I wasn’t really motivated to try, which can really hold you back from, you know, trying. This is definitely going to sound cheesy, but it’s never ‘too late’ to try anything! The only thing holding you back is yourself.

9. Make a good first impression by just being yourself!

Don’t act like someone you aren’t just to fit in; it simply isn’t you and you owe it to yourself to make friends who love the real you, not someone they want you to be. Sometimes I’m weird, like really, really weird; I tend to babble on and on, my eyes tear up when I start talking about something I’m really passionate about, and I can laugh nonstop like a hyena when I find something really funny. But, hey, that’s just me. I usually have those moments where I meet someone new and I just let my whole self out and then realize that there’s a chance they’re thinking that I’m really weird, but it’s okay; if they welcome my weirdness it means they genuinely like the person that I am. Plus, some people can just tell that you have a great character, so don’t hide that!

10. Don’t be afraid of cutting off people who aren’t genuine friends.

I certainly don’t go to college for drama so if I smell it brewing or if I think the person I’m talking to is two-faced or just not genuine, I stop talking to them because I don’t need to hang with that crowd. You owe it to yourself to stay committed to your personal values, so don’t feel like you have to stay friends with someone if you don’t like their attitude. Making the right friends is just as important as making friends!

What are your tips for making new friends in college? 

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