Live Through This

Surviving Your Suburban Summer

Go wild—you’ve earned it!

Illustration by Ana

Illustration by Ana

At last, summer has come upon ye. School’s out, which means all those quadratic equations and soliloquies you memorized have been replaced with dreams of mixing together every Slurpee flavor at the 7-Eleven and sleeping in until 4 PM. This is my first summer home after being at college for a year, and the idea of being stranded in the town I’ve loathed for centuries* makes me a big whiny brat. But it’s going to be OK—I’ve got some pretty cool activities lined up for the times when I’m extremely bored and not busy with my BTC.**

1. Drive Around Blasting “Jungle Boogie” Like a Motherf***ing Badass
This is an extremely important thing to do during your lame-ass summer because it emphasizes how cool you are, obviously. It is the best song to play as loudly as technologically possible in your boring suburban town. Let the smooth sounds of Kool and the Gang blast out your window as you scream at people from high school that you still hate. People to target: middle school bullies, that one gym teacher who laughed when you were last at volleyball, boys who catcall. Don’t have a car? Play it on a portable radio or boombox—raise it above your head and just walk around. Trust me, this is a really great idea.***

2. Tie-Dye Party
Everybody loves to tie-dye shit, and if they say they don’t they’re lying. Tie-dye is magical because it can make a boring white T-shirt look like a beautiful rainbow unicorn-blood blouse. Get a bunch of your friends together, get all of your white clothing out (examples: white socks, tennis skirt, Mom’s wedding dress,*** etc.) and round up your dye; you can buy traditional dye in most stores, or use Kool-Aid. (Eleanor provided an easy tie-dye tutorial here.) This is just an excuse to hang out with your friends and make pretty things. Bonus points to whoever can make a perfect spiral on their T-shirt (that chick is probably a witch with incomprehensible crafting powers).

3. Netflix the Shit Out of Literally Everything
You know those summer days where it’s too hot to be outside and you get really bratty and want to rip your clothes off and just watch television all day? I’m here to tell you it’s OK to stay inside during the summer. Sure, it’s mostly beautiful outside, but there are days when your face might melt off if you stay outside for even a second. Those days are the perfect opportunity to catch up on the Netflixing you’ve missed all year while you were busy being a diligent student. If you don’t have Netflix, try Hulu, or rent DVDs from your local video store. You can get through all of The X-Files, Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development, Degrassi: The Next Generation, One Tree Hill, and Twin Peaks in one summer—I believe in you! By the end of the season you will be so well versed in pop TV knowledge that you can drop out of school forever, because television is all that matters.***

4. Haunt Your Crush
The cast of Grease was onto something when they were singing about “those summmMMMmmmaaaah nnnnIIIGHHTTTSSS!” They were talking about being in love, y’all. Make it your damn mission to hook up with your crush over the summer! The start of summer is a three-month-long window to doing whatever you want; if you really want to make this time at home a little less lame, give yourself a challenge and make your crush fall madly in love with you. Find their address and throw things at their window to get their attention, like small pebbles or multiple boomboxes blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” That’s definitely what Romeo did to Juliet.

5. Make Art
If you’ve ever wanted to write poetry or a screenplay, take up painting, make a zine, start a band, etc. but have been too consumed with school or work during most of the year to do it, now is your chance! Maybe you can start some DIYs and redecorate your clothing and your bedroom. Try organizing a house show with local bands or a reading where you and your friends sit around and read your work. You might be the next Marina Abramović; make your town an unwilling participant in your performance art.

6. Pool Hunt
This is more of an obvious PSA, but if you don’t dip yourself into a body of water larger than your bathtub at least once this summer, consider your summer ruined. If there isn’t a community pool or affordable swimming situation in sight, bring out the baby pool. Also, three words: Slip ’n Slide. Have you seen Slip ’n Slides lately? They’re actually really intense. If you invest in one (or make one yourself) you will probably be the coolest teen in town; just be sure to pick up any rocks or sticks before you get to business.

7. Volunteer
Do you want to use your summer to make a difference rather than lie around eating potato chips and watching TV? Awesome! No matter where you live, there are lots of opportunities for you to help in your community. Pick a cause that speaks to you, then search for organizations in your area that need volunteers. For example, if you’re looking to help out at an animal shelter, The Humane Society lists volunteer opportunities by state. You can join Planned Parenthood’s efforts if you’re interested in advocating for women’s sexual health. If you have a project for social change that you really care about, may grant you money to make that project a reality!

8. Sleep
Just sleep all day, every day. It’s summer and school is out; if you have no jobs or other obligations (lucky you!), why not spend the summer hibernating? In fact, never go outside. I think if you sleep for three whole months, when you wake up you will have enough energy to keep you wide awake for the next nine months.***

9. Book Club
Book clubs are NOT lame. They’re basically parties where you talk about cool books with your greatest friends. During the school year you probably have to read a hundred books and don’t have time to read books for fun, which sucks! Reading is more fun when your friends are reading the same book, so start a book club! You’ll instantly have an awesome forum to talk about every weird character, every cliffhanger, and what you love or hate about the story. It can also keep you on track when it comes to finishing books, or introduce you to new authors! Even if you decide not to read books in unison, your friends can be a great source for finding new stuff to read.

10. Road Trip
If you can: LEAVE YOUR DUMB TOWN. If you have access to a car and friends who are willing to travel with you, take a road trip (no matter how short or long) to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Want to hike the Appalachian Trail, or visit New York City? Do you live in a country where you can safely take a day trip by train? Or maybe you want to experience my dream of browsing the entirety of the World’s Longest Yard Sale? Always keep safety in mind, of course, but get out there, you. ♦

* 19 years.

** BTC: Blog, Tan, Cry. I’m only crying because I’m having such a profound summer experience.

*** This is a really bad idea.


  • Montgomery June 17th, 2013 11:45 PM

    BOOK CLUBSSSS. I wish my friends would have book parties with me lol. I should start one online or something! Love the phrase “netflix the shit out of literally everything” cause that is all I do. I switch between netflix and sometimes I go in to hulu lol. Road trip, tie dye party, volunteer! Perfection :D

  • Jennifer June 17th, 2013 11:47 PM

    2., 3. and 8. are what my summer has consisted of so far. Hopefully the weather will get nicer and I can do 6

  • swegan June 18th, 2013 12:17 AM

    How I’d love to not have a job this summer, even if my hours are pretty fantastic (I think they total out to about 12 hours a week). I’ll have to try some of these, though.

    My sister and I like to bake during the summer- one summer we baked endless trays of chocolate cupcakes with fun icing colours and baked cakes for Canada day and my mom’s birthday and make cookies a couple of times. It made summer more delicious, not to mention it was fun watching the dog lick icing off her nose.

    I love this article. 4 definitely made me laugh :)

    • Princess Mononoke June 18th, 2013 1:30 AM

      That sounds delicious…… I’m from Canada too!

      • KatGirl June 19th, 2013 6:32 PM

        Yay Canadian Rookies!
        Which province are you from?

        • swegan July 22nd, 2013 8:37 PM

          Alberta! I know we get a lot of hate for oil but it’s really a lovely province :)

  • Amelia June 18th, 2013 12:19 AM

    hey rookie WHERE WERE YOU THE PAST WEEK WHEN I GOT MY WISDOM TEETH OUT and then once i started healing got a bee sting that got so swollen i couldn’t walk i need your SUPPORT to do nothing but sleep and watch tv……………………<3~*~*~~

  • Jes June 18th, 2013 1:38 AM

    i have already driven around and blasted wannabe by the spice girls this summer and it was a+

  • lililavender June 18th, 2013 1:39 AM

    What great ideas and so funny too! So far all I have been doing is three and eight….ahhhh lovely summer, but I am definitely going to try some of the others as well!

  • Rawan June 18th, 2013 5:16 AM

    i wish i can go on a road trip but my friends and i are too young to drive :(

  • AnaRuiz June 18th, 2013 6:51 AM

    Eff you summerian Rookies.

    -A southern hemisphere gal

  • Sophie ❤ June 18th, 2013 6:51 AM

    I’ve always wanted to go on a road trip, so we went down to Florida and back last winter. I have to say, the hours in the car were NOT pretty, but Rookie makes me want to try it again so badly!

  • sissiLOL June 18th, 2013 8:11 AM

    But: I have school for 5 weeks before I have holidays!!!!!

  • itsaoifedahling June 18th, 2013 8:41 AM

    Rookie, you have saved my summer <3

  • ellestolemyname June 18th, 2013 11:58 AM


  • AidaA June 18th, 2013 12:36 PM

    Netfliiiiiix! Netflix is going to be my best friend this summer. I’m definitely going to try number 5 as well and be a lot more creative

  • Mary the freak June 18th, 2013 12:49 PM

    This has just saved my whole summer. i have this feeling that this will be the best summer ever.<3
    also TIE DYE YEAAAH!

  • Vilms_99 June 18th, 2013 2:32 PM

    Yay, so much doing such a homebody as me!♥

  • pubertyblues June 18th, 2013 3:29 PM

    loved this! got inspired and sewed some patches onto my denim backpack when you said to “make art”. check it out on my blog below

  • fromanotherearth June 18th, 2013 4:30 PM

    1 more week until i can do all the things on this list! yay!

  • Unicorn Heels June 18th, 2013 5:35 PM

    Not that I’ve marathoned my way through the first two seasons of 30 Rock in four days or anything…

    <3 AZ

  • Melissa @ WildFlowerChild June 18th, 2013 7:23 PM

    This is so brilliant. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


  • kendraleigh June 18th, 2013 8:12 PM

    This sounds like a beautiful summer, too bad I have a boatload of homework due on the first day of school.

  • abby111039 June 18th, 2013 9:18 PM

    Tie-dyeing is the shit. Everything turns out so beautiful and it reminds me of doing that kind of stuff in Girl Scout camp when I was younger. ^.^

  • spudzine June 18th, 2013 10:24 PM


    Seriously though this sounds like a summer in my suburban Jersey town. It’s both the best and the pits.

    PS- Ya’ll should watch Winona Ryder films all summer. And Angelina Jolie films. And Girl, Interrupted, which has both Winona Ryder AND Angelina Jolie. And PLEASE check out one of my favs, Fight Club.

  • Vriska June 19th, 2013 1:57 AM

    This will save my summer from sucking. I think I’m going to tie dye everyday forever.

  • Margot June 24th, 2013 2:52 PM

    I still have exams and it kills me inside… but 3 DAYS AND I’LL BE FREE
    I would love to do a book club it would force me to read and finish books haha but my friends will never do it with me duh
    and a road trip seems so cool like so much fun and so perfect and all I want to do that but I can’t well I can still wander in my town and the nearest towns I can reach thanks to the train so it’s ok, it will be fun I want to wander everywhere in my town so muuuuuch
    Oh and I should also enjoy this summer by making some art and meeting new people with who I can chat on fb every night of my next school years I just love to speak to people so much I need to meet some new friends