How to: summer

Summer, class, school, campus, UW-Eau Claire, First year, second year, graduating, gap

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022

Photo by submitted

Before our oasis arrives, I have some tips to ensure your summer is as enjoyable as possible.

With the finish line looming in the distance, and a pile of homework, essays and exams in your pile, you’re probably longing for summer. Me too.

Before our oasis arrives, I have some tips to ensure your summer is as enjoyable as possible.


If you’re just finishing your first year of college, you might be going home for a summer with the family. In that case, you can’t be a total bum.

Nothing sours a summer like getting yelled at. Plus, your parents are probably right.

Just do your stuff. Parents can’t help but treat you like the immature high school kid you were nine months ago. 

Although you may feel you’ve doubled in maturity since high school, nobody is going to notice if you spend your summer sleeping until 3 p.m. and binge-watching “Grey’s Anatomy” for the 17th time.

Realistically, if you do the bare minimum, your parents will be thrilled with you. 

Second and third-years

Second and third-year students who are going home, you know the drill. Do the dishes when asked or before, get a job and spend the rest of the time doing nothing.

Consider internships, but only ones that pay. Your time is valuable, even if you were planning on spending it watching TikToks.

If it’s your first summer in Eau Claire, I have some helpful advice.

Get a full-time job. Your bank account will thank you when you’re up to your knees in homework and laziness come October.

If you’re recently 21, you might hear a little voice in your head saying “Water Street.”

Sure, go for it, but keep yourself under control. Stay sober more days than you drink, don’t bring a debit card and stop drinking rum and Cokes.


Maybe your summer is extended a bit. Taking a gap is entirely acceptable. Do what you’ve got to do.

Some advice from someone who took a semester off — move back in with your parents.

Nothing motivates a person like getting treated like a 15-year-old. We need parents, they keep us in line.

If my mom didn’t steadily drive me insane with her intense and obnoxious caring, I’d probably be living in a van down by the river.

By the time your break is wrapping up, you’ll be skipping your way back to campus.


If you’re a fourth-year student, there are three things that could be happening; you’re graduating with a job, you’re graduating without one or you’re not graduating.

As someone in the third category, I know it can be tough. 

Watching all your friends — and even worse, those idiots you can’t stand — getting ready to skedaddle while you’re stuck here might be frustrating. 

But you know what isn’t frustrating? Delaying student loan payments.

In a year or two, we’re all going to be in the same spot — angrily handing over fistfuls of cash to pay for all those classes we skipped and realizing we didn’t learn much. 

Everyone has their own path. Be happy for them and be nice to yourself.

If you’re graduating, I hate you, but congratulations. 

Job or no job, it’s a big accomplishment. Bill Gates couldn’t do it, and he invented the telephone.

My advice for gappers also applies to unemployed graduates. Nothing will push you towards a job in your field like your parents asking “how’s it coming?” while you’re eating breakfast at 3 p.m.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected].