Maybe it’s for a job, internship or classes, but for some reason or another, you’ve found yourself in Happy Valley during the off season. It’s easy to get trapped in the campus “bubble” during the school year, making it feel like nothing is happening when a majority of students are gone. Fortunately, now is a great time to try new things, get back into an old routine or explore the greater State College community with your down time. VALLEY has a few suggestions about how to fill your time in beneficial and meaningful ways this summer.
Get Involved With Local Organizations
Giving back to others is a great way to utilize your more flexible time and contribute in a meaningful way to those around you. Many organizations are excited to have college students that want to be engaged in their community.
Centre County Paws is a local animal shelter that calls its volunteers their “heart and soul.” Volunteers can help in a wide variety of ways, from donating food or supplies, walking dogs, socializing cats, assisting with adoptions and more. In order to become a volunteer, you must first fill out the online applications, then participate in a training session. More information can be found on the Centre County Paws website.
The Food Bank of the State College Area is dedicated to providing food security to the Centre County community year round. To do so, they also need volunteers to help with various tasks. In addition to accepting donations, volunteers are necessary to keep the center running. New volunteers are assigned to a regular weekly shift following their application review and training process, which can be found here.
Start a Regular Fitness Routine
It can be difficult to fit a regular workout regimen into your hectic schedule during the fall and spring semesters. Take advantage of the more laid-back schedule of summer to start working out for the first time, or get back into a routine you had before.
The Intramural Building is open throughout the summer and even has drop-in and bookable group fitness classes, personal training and equipment rentals just as it does during the regular academic session. If you are taking classes, access to IM is included in your student fee, otherwise you can purchase a summer membership at the IM Building sales desk for $57. This membership includes access to IM, White Building, Rec Hall, McCoy Natatorium and the outdoor pool. The full list of summer fitness and wellness offerings can be found on the campus recreation website.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous way to exercise, Campus Recreation offers “Outdoor Adventures” in the form of trips and clinics. Trips are designed for all skill levels unless otherwise noted and range from caving to whitewater rafting and more. Clinics are intended to help students develop specific skills and provide instruction and a basic foundation to do so. The cost is different depending on the location and activities included in each one, and registration is required in advance.
Broaden Your Horizons
If you tend to fill up your time sitting on your phone or laptop, it might be time to put down the screen and pick up a book. Reading can be relaxing and enjoyable, and often teaches something new or gives a different perspective. Business Insider compiled a list of books that are common across multiple college’s summer reading lists and features many different genres. Regardless of whether you can’t remember the last book you read or are in the middle of one right now, a new read can be a great find.
Try shaking things up a different way by going somewhere alone. During the regular semester, you likely are surrounded by people at all times. There’s pretty much always someone to go to a movie, grab dinner or sit in the HUB with. It seems daunting to do some of these things by yourself, but taking time to learn about yourself and reflect on your day or week can be important in personal growth. Check out a restaurant downtown that you’ve never been to, or simply just wander through shops more than just the ones right along College Avenue. You never know what you’ll find or even who you might meet!
These are only a sampling of the many opportunities to give back and grow personally throughout your summer in State College. Whether it’s helping a local organization, starting a healthy routine, reading a new book or taking some time to yourself, summer in State College is an excellent time to refocus and reconnect with yourself and others.