Opinion: Five ways to avoid total meltdown this summer

Summers in the Valley aren't so bad if you know what to do

It’s only been about a month since out-of-state Sun Devils wrapped up their finals and jetted off to hometowns that likely sport more pleasant weather. As for the students from the Valley, we haven’t even begun to see the worst of it.

While we will surely be seeing triple-digit heat for several months ahead, that does not need to put a damper on our break from school. If you spend enough summer vacations dealing with the sweltering heat, you start to pick up on the tricks to make the best of it. Here’s five ways to make the best of our time off.

1. Work all day, play all night

The most important thing you can do to set yourself up for an enjoyable Arizona summer is to get yourself on a schedule that works well with our weather. It’s simple: get a day job that allows you to stay inside where the AC is on full blast. Then, when the sun goes down, a normal social life can ensue. Even though it’s still toasty at night, it’s bearable once it's dusk and the sun is no longer beating down.

Mill Avenue may not be in full swing like it is during the semester, but summer nights out with friends can still be plenty enjoyable. You can also catch up on the movies you missed during the semester at the Pollack Tempe Cinemas. Tickets only cost $2.50 on Tuesdays and $3.50 any other day, so you won't be breaking the bank.

2. Thrive on day trips

Have a day off? Instead of milling around at home because it’s too hot to attempt outside, grab a few friends and head up north. Not all of Arizona has god-awful heat during the summer, and there are plenty of spots that can offer respite for a day.

Sedona is about a two-hour drive from the Tempe campus and offers all sorts of beauty and hiking opportunities. When it heats up there as well, the famous Slide Rock State Park is perfect for cooling off. 

Another option is Tonto Natural Bridge State Park near Payson, which has the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. After a short hike down into the canyon, visitors can enjoy jumping into the small swimming hole or standing under the small waterfall that trickles off the bridge.

3. Live in water

This one’s critical. If you’re really going to enjoy your hot Arizona summer, then find a body of water and use it often. For most of us, that’s the pool at home or one at a friend’s place. But, if that’s not an option, it doesn’t have to be a pool.

Arizona may not have any coastlines, but we do have lakes. If your family or friend’s family owns a boat, then heading out to Saguaro, Roosevelt or Canyon Lake for a day of wakeboarding and tubing is a great way to combat the heat. No boat? No problem. Saguaro and Canyon Lake also have great cliff jumping spots.

If you’re not really a lake person, floating down the Salt River in your inner tube is a great alternative, and it gives you plenty of opportunity to work on your summer tan. It also gives you plenty of opportunity to be burnt to a crisp, so lather up on sunscreen. 

4. Reconnect with old pals

There's few things lonelier than having all your college friends head home for the summer, leaving you no one to hang out with but your dog. But chances are, all of your old friends who ventured to far away places for college are back for the summer.

Instead of letting old friendships die out, call them up and see when they're free. Chances are, they're just as bored as you, and you'll probably have a great time catching up and reminiscing on the good old times.

5. Get over it

If you grew up in the Valley, the heat is nothing new. It's not pleasant, but you've had plenty of time to get used to it. If you moved here on your own accord, you should have known what you were getting yourself into.

Honesty time: if you continually complain about how hot it is and how much you hate being here, newsflash — you'll hate being here. At least we aren't one of those states whose weather still calls for jackets mid-summer and is too cold for a dip in the pool. The point is, you have to suck it up and try to enjoy your time off as best as you can.

Reach the columnist at amblodge@asu.edu or follow @AndiBlodgett on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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