A Summer Bucket List for When You Get Bored

By: Lelani Williamson and Regan Sumy

Summer break is right around the corner (only 10 more school days!), and I’m sure everyone is ready to have an eventful summer so as to make up for last year. Here’s some ideas of things to do if you get bored over break:

Go to an amusement park:

At places like Adventure Landing and Frankie’s you’ll have a variety of activities like go-karting, mini golf, and arcade games to keep you entertained. With some friends, you could spend hours having fun at these nearby places. Not too far out (in Charlotte) is Carowinds, where you can ride large roller coasters and get the full amusement park experience.  

Take a beach trip

The beach is one of the best parts of summer. The cool water and sand make it the ideal summer destination. With all the beaches in North Carolina — such as Carolina Beach, Emerald Isle, Wilmington Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Sunset Beach, Myrtle Beach, and more — taking a day or even week trip to the beach could be a lively experience. 

Go to a water park

Hot summer days will leave you wanting nothing more than to get soaked in some cool water. As the pool once again begins to become a routine destination, try out places like Wet ‘n Wild Water Park at Emerald Pointe, White Lake Water Park, Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park, or Murrow Waves Water Park for a more exciting water experience. These water parks have large slides, lazy pools, and normal pools for you to swim in. If you want to take an overnight trip try out Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte or Concord, you can enjoy a water park that comes with many other great amenities. 

Camp in your backyard

If you don’t want to go far from your house but still want to get outside, try camping in your backyard with some friends. You can set up tents, have a campfire, and make s’mores while telling creepy stories — just like they do in the movies! I would definitely recommend bug spray, but it could be an eventful and memorable activity to do with some friends or family. 

Have a picnic

 With all the nice parks in the area, making a meal and having a picnic could be an easy and relaxing thing to do over summer. You could try making a new recipe, creating a cool refreshing drink, or even put together a tasty charcuterie board. 

Read a book!

Now I know this may sound boring like summer homework, but finding a good book to read can be super relaxing and fun pastime for all the free time you’ll have over summer break. There are so many genres and writing styles to choose from, so there is surely a book for everyone! I’m sure if you try, you could begin to love books this summer. 

Watch a outdoor movie

Since the weather is so good over the summer, why not go outside to watch a movie to get a change of scenery? At the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater you can drive up and watch whatever movie they have playing that night. Bring snacks, a blanket, and your friends to make this an enjoyable experience. Another option would just be to set up a movie in your backyard. Invite your friends or family and it might feel just like a movie theater at home. 

Pick strawberries

Once it’s the season, places like Hunt’s Strawberries and Page Farms become an activity worth your while. At these strawberry farms, you can go around and pick your own fresh strawberries to wash and eat later. It’s super fun and the strawberries are like none you’ve ever had before!

Other ideas include: 

  • Go for a hike/walk
  • Go thrifting
  • Have (or visit) a yard sale
  • Visit a cat cafe. These are literally the best ever! If you like cats, of course. My favorite local cat cafe is Purr Cup Cafe — they have some amazingly cute cats and brilliant coffee.
  • Go to the farmer’s market or support local shops 
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Stargaze
  • Have a mini-photoshoot 
  • Have a game night 
  • Volunteer somewhere (Foodbank, ASPCA, etc.)
  • Go downtown
  • Adopt a plant or start a garden
  • Catch (and then release!!) fireflies 
  • Make the ultimate summer playlist 
  • Watch the sunset or sunrise
  • Do a spa day 
  • Go shopping (or window shopping if you don’t want to spend money!)
  • Write a story 
  • Go to the library 
  • Have a water balloon fight or do something outside with water
  • Build a fort
  • Go swimming 
  • Write and send a letter to someone

Have a wonderful summer everyone!

After 17 Years, Brood X is Emerging Across the East Coast

By: Alexis Cope

For the first time in nearly two decades, a horde of billions of cicadas, labeled “Brood X”, has emerged and swarmed areas of the northeast. 

These insects, called periodical cicadas, live 13 or 17 year life cycles, most of which is spent underground eating roots and other plants. In the last months of their lives, the cicadas will emerge, shed out of their juvenile skin, and begin searching for a mate. That droning buzzing sound you often associate with cicadas is, in fact, the males issuing their mating calls. 

While Brood X is only going to swarm in states like Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, other periodical cicadas exist across nearly every eastern state. Residents of the afflicted states this year have catalogued the cicadas’ takeover; many have shared images of cicadas crawling over their faces, the ground, and jars full of collected cicada shells. Some have even begun posting recipes online for such delicacies as chocolate covered cicadas for anyone who feels like a forager at heart.

Victory Urbanstead, via Instagram

At the moment, there are a dozen periodical cicada broods on the 17-year cycle, such as Brood X, and three broods on a 13-year cycle. Brood X is the only brood which will emerge this year; the next time these cicadas will appear is 2024, when Brood XIII,  a 17-year cicada, and Brood XIX, a 13-year cicada, emerge. Brood XIX will appear in several areas in North Carolina, including Wake County. 

Periodical cicadas in the U.S., U.S. FOREST SERVICE

These periodical cicadas typically only live above ground for four to six weeks, so if you want to witness this incredible phenomenon in the wild, take a road trip up to West Virginia soon. Me, though, I’ll be staying home where I don’t have to hear the racket of those creepy-crawlies covering nearly every surface.

My Favorite Healthy Ways to Get Your Starbucks Fix

By: Kiera Kofkin-Hansen

I grew up hating being basic, but then I moved to America and discovered Starbucks! Junior year taught me that coffee is an essential, but I sadly learned that some of the best Starbucks has to offer comes at a high price–both figuratively and literally. Over the past few months, I’ve been researching–and taste-testing of course–the healthiest ways to satisfy my ever-lasting Starbucks cravings, and I’m here to share. 

Nutella Iced Coffee

I love chocolate, but I love Nutella most of all; I started drinking a Nutella Iced Coffee at Starbucks, and it instantly rose to the top of my list of favorite food/drinks. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet, yet definitely has that nutella flavor I long for on a daily basis. Here’s how to order it: 

  • Grande Shaken Espresso 
  • No Classic Syrup
  • 1 Pump Mocha
  • 1 Pump Hazelnut Syrup (Toffeenut works as well!) 
  • 2 Pumps of Sugar Free Vanilla
  • 1 Stevia

Almond Cinnamon Iced Coffee

I must confess, I didn’t love this drink. However, that is probably due to my overbearing sweet-tooth; this coffee is sweet enough, yet far from overwhelming, and is surprisingly refreshing (if coffee can be described that way). 

  • Venti Iced Coffee with Milk
  • No Classic Syrup
  • Almond Milk
  • 1 Pump Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce Syrup
  • 3 Stevia

Egg White and Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites

These snack-sized egg bites are on the menu as they come, and I LOVE them. Gluten free, vegetarian and full of nutrients, the Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites are my favorite food item on the Starbucks menu. They’re available all day, but I prefer to get them at lunch, as they are bigger than expected and will keep you very full.

How to Crush the College Board (Academically Speaking!)

By: Kiera Kofkin-Hansen

Administration of this year’s AP Exams went underway this week, with Tuesday kicking off the next two weeks of stress students have been dreading since they decided on their classes last spring. The recently implemented digital format of these exams can be a blessing or a curse, depending on personal preference. However, I’m here to tell you the tricks I’ve learnt after three years of attempting to please the College Board on their wicked tests.

  1. DO NOT CHEAT

I don’t know if I’m just sensitive because I’m still scarred from sophomore year when tests were in person and HANDWRITTEN, but cheating is a no go. I have complete faith in the College Board that they can and will detect plagiarism, not to mention that they sinfully design their tests in order to allow for zero time to think, let alone look something up “real quick”. I promise you, you will score significantly better if you put your faith in yourself rather than the internet this one time. 

  1. Notes are okay (but you didn’t hear it from me)

As I mentioned, there is little time to do anything other than select the first answer that came to you whilst taking these tests, but having a few notes of important concepts next to your device is always a little helpful, even if just as a crutch. I wouldn’t consider this cheating as much as a memory boost, and I speak from experience when I say whatever you feel is important enough to have on close call will more than likely only be useful when it comes to FRQ’s and written responses (so don’t waste what precious time you have on multiple choice!) 

  1. Study, study, and study!!!

My last but certainly most important trick for these digital exams is to study. I know: boring. The worst part of homework ever. “I can’t do it because someone actually TOLD me to”. It’s cliche, yet astronomically helpful in regards to your performance, and you’ll be glad you did on the day. A trick I learned from AP Psychology this year (shout out Mrs. Richards!) is that studying a little bit consistently over a long period of time quite literally melts the information into your brain more effectively than a night-before-cram-session, and I highly recommend it. As someone who detests sitting and studying and would much rather fill out a one hundred question study guide, I’m forever grateful that I decided to actually put the work into studying this year for exams because I felt so much more confident and it made my exams less like a chore and more like another super fun activity! 

AP exams, like any other exams, are highly stressful, yet there are ways to ease the pressure on exam day in order to boost your serotonin and scores all at once! I hope my tricks help you future test-takers take on the College Board with your heads held high!