As August gets going and summer winds down, I find myself desperate to hold on for just a little longer.  Here are five things we recommend before school begins–to get all we can out of these last few weeks.

Visit local eateries, coffee shops, and boutiques.

We don’t mean the chain restaurants and shops you can find on every corner.  Instead, check out some of those interesting local spots we say we’ll hit up eventually, but NEVER get around to. Those are the places to visit! Bring some friends or relatives along and experience your hometown for all that it has to offer.

We suggest:

The Artisan

Compass Coffee

The Cleveland Flea (check the website for dates)

The District Boutique

Plan a day-trip with your friends.

You can be adventurous and hike or spend the day school shopping. The point isn’t what you do, so much as who you go with. As strange as it is to think about, life will probably change a lot after graduation. So take the time while you can, and make great memories with the great people around you. There’s nothing like camping out under the stars, or singing karaoke with the windows rolled down when your best friends are by your side!

We suggest:

Presque Isle (The beaches are beautiful.)

Hocking Hills 

Pittsburgh Be sure to check out IKEA while there!

Read a Shakespeare play and then go see it live!

Researchers have learned that Shakespeare’s works stimulate our brains and can even increase academic performance. Don’t believe us? Just ask Google! Beyond the academic boost, reading and then watching theater is often a life-changing experience. After all, plays are meant to be seen and lived, not just read. So find a local theater group -some even perform outdoors in the summer, and see for yourself why “The play’s the thing!”

We suggest:

Weathervane Playhouse

Akron Civic Theater

Playhouse Square

Great Lakes Theater

Tour the Metro Parks.

They don’t call it “The Great Outdoors” for nothing! Take some time to get out into nature and just be. Whether it’s the sound of crickets as the sun is setting, or the relief of standing knee deep in a cool, lazy stream, time outside has a way of re-centering us with ourselves and reminding us of what we really value. Bring a journal (or snap a waterproof case on your phone) and jot down some notes, or take photos while you’re at it. If nothing else, you can pretend to be Thoreau for a day. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.”

We suggest:

Summit County Parks (Check out the Fall Hiking Spree while you’re there.)

Cleveland Parks 

Jump start your school year by developing your writing skills or practicing typing.

Writing papers can get overwhelming, but before you know it, you’re going to be asked to do A LOT of it. Get a head start by checking out “writing prompts” online. Try anything from academic questions to creative writing. No matter what you choose, any type of exercise is good practice for what’s to come! You might be surprised how the creativity starts flowing once you get started!  

We suggest:

Consider keeping a journal of your year for a keepsake to look back on later.  

More prompts to get you started

Free typing practice (TIP: Begin with their test, which places you according to your current typing ability.)

Did we miss anything that you think should be on this list?  What are your favorite ways to finish the summer?