Making the most of your summer

The morning sun greets my bedroom from my stay in NC.

The time is 8:30 AM, Eastern Standard Time. The sunlight was peeking through the closed blinds hanging motionless over the windows. Birds sang a soft but gentle song as a new summer day began for the world. I peaked my eyes open to be greeted by the orange glow of the misty sun. I was waking up in an unfamiliar bed. I sat up and slid out of my sheets, ready to take a shower. I was soon ready to start my day, but I was not at my familiar suburb home in Arbutus, Maryland. I was miles away in a house in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, on a summer vacation with my family.

Summer vacation is something that is often taken for granted. Yes, summer is meant to be fun, and you’re supposed to enjoy those three months that you have to the fullest that you can. However, when asked about summer, most people will say that they spent their summer doing what they wanted and focused on their central needs. While it is true that summer should be a time to improve the things about yourself that you may not like, you aren’t the only person you know, after all. With the time in summer, some of it should be dedicated to the most important people in your life: your family. Family can mean various things to different people, but the core definition of family is the people closest to you that you care about. This can either be your immediate relatives that you live with, or it could be people such as your relationship partner or a really close group of friends you’ve known for years. With the time you have in those three months, you have more than enough time to grow closer with your family.

The front entrance sign to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

One way that my family strengthens our bonds together is through road trips and vacations. Every year, my family takes a week long road trip vacation to anywhere we can find. More often than not, we rent out a house to stay at and spend a week in the area, checking out the various tourist attractions and sightseeing places we can find. To give an example, during the past 2021 summer, my family and I spent a week in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, where we went to the national park of the area, observed local waterfalls and other scenic vistas, as well as trying the local cuisine.

A smoky morning in the Smoky Mountains.

You may ask, “Why should I bond with my family during summer?” Doing activities that can be commonly enjoyed by anyone is a way to grow closer through the common interests your family shares. Sharing your opinions on your interests with people you know who share that same interest is another way to show affection to the people who mean the most to you. Long after you grow older and move away from your home family, you’ll soon build a new family with your partner and your children, and hopefully they will take the skills you have taught them towards their eventual families. Learning to share the beauty of enjoying each other’s company through the free time of summer is the best way to bond with those you care about. Hopefully, you can take your interests along with you to your family and strengthen your bond with them in future summers to come.

The comforting wooden porch my family and I rested on in the evening.

Jackson Reichardt is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.