By featured writer Jake Christie

Growing up is tough. Sure, there are a few perks that come with racking up the years—drinking is legal, for example. You can own your own car. You can buy your own porn. You can buy your own cigarettes. And let’s not forget that drinking is legal. Yes, growing up does afford a lot of opportunities, but it also slaps you with something a little less appetizing: responsibility.

After you’re in college for a couple of years, the pressure to grow up and become an adult is really on. Those visits back home become a little less about coddling and a little more about lectures like, “You need to get your own place,” or, “You have to start a career,” or, “You’re too old to date 15-year-olds.” You lose those little things from your youth that used to slide. One of the biggest things you’re going to find slipping away is those precious months twixt May and September. That’s right: when you grow up, you aren’t supposed to have a summer vacation.


Icehouse Light, also known as "summer housing." (Please drink the responsibility in every can.)

At least, you aren’t supposed to enjoy it. According to “the real world,” summer vacation isn’t for the big kids. The months that could be spent swilling beer and tapping ass are now supposed to be spent “working.” Food, housing, and living expenses all cost money that you can’t count on your parents to keep providing until you feel you’ve really reached adulthood—somewhere around, say, 34 years old. Summer isn’t the time to take a break; it’s the time to get a summer job.

Unless, like me, you decided not to give up your freedom to the tyrannical grip of the Man… otherwise known as “being lazy.”

Yes, dear readers, it is possible to make it through these hot summer months without getting a job. It’s not easy, but when you can sit in your room at 2:30 in the afternoon, eating a bag of Doritos and waiting for your girlfriend to get home from high school, you’ll know that it’s worth it. Trust me, I’m living the life. Here’s what I’ve learned….

Housing

Places to live cost money, so finding housing might cause some trouble for you. If you don’t want to pay rent, you have two choices: live on campus or live at home.

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If you want to live on campus, you can convince your parents to pay for it by telling them you want to spend the summer there for the “academic atmosphere” (read: “away-from-home atmosphere”) and “learning opportunities” (read: “fucking opportunities”). You might have to take a class to live on campus, but summer classes are a breeze. Most colleges offer summer classes that are only a fraction as long and can be taken online. Finally, taking a test while simultaneously reading the answers on Wikipedia and updating your MySpace profile is no longer a pipe dream.

Living at home gives you all the comfort of sleeping in the race car bed you’ve had since you were five without having a roommate there to make fun of it. Thanks to your mother’s overprotectiveness, you’ll never have to pay rent, buy food, or foot a bill. All your family will ask for in return is that you mow the lawn, and you can always put that off. No one’s going to see the grass after it snows, anyway.

Eating

Food is another thing that requires hell of benjamins, so surviving starvation could be a problem for you. If you have to buy your own food, go for the cheapest stuff you can find. Remember, the meal plan safety net is gone, so I’m not talking about Top Ramen and Easy Mac, big spender.

Did you know that napkins contain trace amounts of valuable fibers and minerals? You can get literally dozens of napkins for the change you find in your furniture.

Were you aware that urine is sterile enough to drink? Goodbye expensive Gatorade!

Can you even comprehend how much food you would have if you killed someone and hid them in your mini-fridge? It’s simple! Finding enough food with no income isn’t that hard if you put your mind to it, get creative, and are willing to spend the next sixty to a hundred years in jail.

Dating

I’m not going to lie: it’s hard to get your bone on without any cash to back it up. Money matters in the dating world, and having none of it is a big setback, no matter how attractive you are, how charming you can be, or how many hilarious articles you write for a humor website.

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If you are a girl with no job, this probably won’t affect you much. Equal rights or not, we men still pay for most of the dates. In fact, you could probably save some money and get more dates at the same time if you just stopped buying and wearing bras. (Please. Stop wearing bras.)

Things are harder if you’re a guy, because you can’t wine and dine someone without enough money to pay for wine and/or dining. Try romancing her on the cheap: walks on the beach, looking at the stars, eating spaghetti that you find in alleys like Lady and the Tramp. If that sounds a little on the gay side, you can always use the last of your money on one purchase at the start of the summer. That is, if you can find someone who sells roofies in bulk.

Culture

Forget going out to movies, you’ll be spending a lot of time getting to know your basic cable. Thankfully, most channels spend the summer months replaying the worst movies of the 80s and 90s. Keep a keen eye on the TV and you’ll be seeing movies starring Baldwin brothers that you didn’t even know existed.

Wasting money on drinks that are already ridiculously expensive makes going to a bar a bit on the tricky side. The key to getting your lack-of-money’s worth lies with free drinks. By “free,” of course, I mean “stolen.” You’d be surprised how many people leave half-empty or untouched drinks at the bar. And by “leave,” of course, I mean “get punched in the face while you steal their drink.”

Making Money

If your savings run out and you find yourself hallucinating from the hunger, you’re going to have to buckle down and get some money, somehow. Luckily there’s a way to do this without getting a job and without giving up any of your free time. It’s so simple that I’m surprised more people don’t do it. It’s probably the easiest way to make fast cash and support yourself, period.

If you’d like to know what it is, please send $20 to Jake Christie, University of Southern Maine, care of Summer Housing. Act now while there’s still time, and please, get that money here quick. I just ate my last napkin.

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