ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN The Huntington News, June 4, 2014

By Sara Tucker, News Staff

For my entire life up until this point, summer break was it. It was the motivation for finishing school and working hard and pushing through exams. Three more weeks, one more week, two days, and finally, summer break. Three months that included trips to the beach, the lake and the river, new friends, summer loves and most importantly:  freedom.

But now that we’re in college, summer break has a different connotation. For most of us at Northeastern, at least half of it means dialogues or co-ops, and the other half is often dedicated to summer classes. We’re adult s now, dead set on getting ahead, on keeping up or on graduating as soon as possible.

This is the prelude to adult life, to careers and marriage and families. I know what you’re thinking, we have a lot more to worry about than a day off, but how can you get ahead without a day of relaxation and being young again every once in awhile?

Even if you have to beg for a day or two off from work to turn a three-day weekend into a mini vacation, do it. While working and studying are incredibly important, so are your toes in the sand — maybe a beer in your hand — while you make eyes at that cutie down the beach.

Very rarely do we as students get days with absolutely no stress. If it’s not class, it’s the job or friends, significant others, orgetting home to visit parents that you haven’t called in weeks.

But beach days can’t help but relieve stress. Blue water, bluer skies, crystal clear sand and maybe just a tad of sunburn. What’s more refreshing than that?

Days like that take me back to free and easy childhood, the annual week-long stays at the Outer Banks, day trips to Virginia Beach when we were old enough to drive.

And even if you have to work the next day, soak up the sun for as long as you can, have just one more drink and relish the irreplaceable feeling of the sun warming your skin and the water splashing up your ankles as you walk towards a horizon that seems to go on forever. If only summer would too.

What to take with you:

Packing for the beach or a long vacation is always a stressful matter for me. I triple check for my sunglasses, my hat and my sunscreen. My philosophy tends to be to take more than you need. Even if you aren’t sure you’ll use your inflatable raft or your sand bucket, take them anyway. At least you’ll have it if the opportunity arises to build a banging sandcastle.

The necessities:

If you can’t load up the car or you’re in a rush, here are some basic necessities.

Take at least one hat. Most people opt for the baseball cap, but ladies might want to take a floppy hat.

Bring a speaker. Nothing’s nicer than an acceptably loud Kenny Chesney hit playing while you watch the waves roll in.

If you’re the type to take a cooler, make it a little one and throw some ice packs in before you leave. They’re cheaper than ice and won’t leave a puddle of water floating at the bottom. And don’t forget the koozies. They’ll keep your drink cool and they’ll also keep your can from getting covered in sand. If you’re packing drinks, go with cans rather than bottles. Many public beaches allow open containers, but no glass.

If you like to wear your sunglasses while you’re swimming, invest in some Croakies (there are even some cute ones at the NU Bookstore.) If you get hit by a wave, they’ll keep your glasses around your neck rather than at the bottom of the ocean.

And most importantly, don’t forget that the whole point of this adventure is to have fun, to kick back and to remember what it feels like to be young. Kenny Chesney said it best:  “It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine, it’s summertime.

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