10 Independence Day Activities for College Students

If you heard the news, then you would know that there are no details for the July 4 celebrations. Not that everyone wants a change, if not introduce a new activity, but past events, particularly the recent one, should make us realize that we might be taking Independence Day for granted. College students have the time to think about it.

The George Floyd incident was a tragic case, culminating in looting and violence in many cities in America. It's a painful reminder that racism still exists in the 21st century. Equal, a sweetener, used to be a joke, which should be a cause of discomfort to some people. And then there's President Donald Trump. He has yet to wear a facial mask, which says it all. The election is several months away, and this could be Joe Biden's chance. It remains to be seen, though. Some college students would be reminded of Tom Perrotta's "Election", about Tracy Flick, a very ambitious high school student who wanted to be the school president, and Mr. M, one of her teachers, who saw through her manipulative approach. Perrotta could be thinking of Hillary Clinton, of irredeemable women and redeemable men, and Mr. M's issues with women, if not his concept of masculinity. It would be easier to write a book about Trump and Hollywood could turn the George Floyd case into an Emmy-winning made-for-TV movie, but some college students would know better. 

If you're one of those students who try to make sense of it all, then all you have to do is go out of the house in the late afternoon. (Don't forget your face mask or scarf.) Walk a few blocks. (Don't forget to greet anyone.) And wait for dusk. (Don't forget to look at the sky.) The world expands or shrinks during this time of the day, but you must be thinking of many things. The term is about to end. You have a to-do list for the summer. And you're glad to be alive. When night comes, the bubble pops. It wouldn't take an hour to figure out that the pandemic would become much smaller. It's what the evening would do, but the bright lights distracted us from it. We could get through this uncertain time, which should make you swell with pride. And that is patriotic enough. 

Is it too early to plan your July 4 celebrations? No. If some states (like Massachusetts) announced the gradual steps of reopening establishments, then you must optimistic yet cautious. It could change next week, if not the week after. It should depend on the number of new cases, and there aren't any signs of going down (or reaching a plateau at the least). And then there's the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak. Will it happen this fall? The answer to that question shouldn't worry college students. Think of the next few weeks, as you want to chill with your family. And you might do a toast (in front of the computer screen).

This is not a Manifesto: Celebrating July 4 with Family and Friends

Watch "Independence Day". It's a Will Smith film, a certified blockbuster after its release in 1996. And it never failed to entertain the younger viewers. The enemy didn't come from the Middle East, but rather from another galaxy. It would be scary if you think long and hard it, but you've been told about the most notable titles in science fiction. (Perhaps some aliens want Earthlings to make that first move, but you might have seen "2001: Space Odyssey" too many times.) This Roland Emmerich film could make you look at the pandemic differently. The news could be distressing, and it would get to anyone. This is the time to get away from it.

Discuss the political situation with your family. You don't have any right to complain about the disorganized state of America, and public officials, if you don't vote. Someone told you about it, but you forgot about it. The family discussion could be heated after several minutes, which is OK. Agree to disagree, but a consensus is a possibility. If you're hoping for it, then think of the questions. Carefully.

Invite your college friends to another Zoom meeting. One of your course mates talked about "The Portabello Road" (in a previous Zoom meeting), which would make you winced. Your sister is a huge fan of Muriel Spark, so you're a bit familiar with her works. You didn't foresee your buddies going down the same road as Needle did. (And no one told you how lucky you've been.) You can talk about anything but July 4. (Christopher Nolan is about to make a gamble IF Warner Bros. will push through with its July opening of "Tenet". You're not holding your breath, though.) It should keep your minds off serious topics, and you have enough of it.

Don't forget that epic dinner. A July 4 celebration would be incomplete without the barbecue, which you cook in the backyard. Forget about fruits and veggies, as long as you run (or hit the gym).

Learn to bake a pie (or cupcake). You have other reasons for learning to bake a pie (or cupcake). You can host a weekend treat with your course mates during the first week (of next term). It's also another way of showing your appreciation to your mother. The reasons may not be patriotic, but it doesn't matter. And no one would shame you for joining the bandwagon.

Watch the fireworks on TV. Think of your safety first. Besides, you can look forward to the fireworks next year. It might be more spectacular (after what is happening this year). Make sure that you don't drift your attention to other channels. (You haven't get over your addiction to Netflix, which is not an isolated case.) You can compare and contrast the Lake Tahoe display to the Space Needle show (or the Barge Battle display in New Orleans against the "biggest party" in Gateway Arch). 

Do a virtual tour of America's historic destinations. This could be the right time to take another look at the historic destinations in the Northeast. You hated the music video of "You Built This City", but you couldn't get enough of the Mount Rushmore scene in "North by Northwest". There're no doubt that you want to be back on the road, but you have to wait a little longer. In the meantime, visit Mount Vernon and then the Patriotic Path.

Pay it forward. You can contact your local community. You can donate your (old) books to your local library. And there might be a stray in the neighborhood. The list goes on, which means that there's something to do. This is not the time to be selfish, if not oblivious, of this distressing time.

Show your appreciation to the people who made a difference. You can smile at the police officers, if not be courteous to those who work in the nearby supermarket. And you might pass by a member of the hospital staff. You're familiar with the faces, which should be good enough. It won't be too hot (to ruin your day).

Don't watch reruns of "SNL". You may have liked Alec Baldwin's performance (as Trump), but there's one good reason not to watch reruns of "SNL" these coming weeks. It could remind you of what is happening out there, and it's not a pretty sight. Time to be grateful and look forward for the remaining months.

What Would Summer Like

You might notice your potbelly after July 4, if not feel sluggish (to do your errands). And you're not in the mood for another Zoom meeting (with your course mates). It's OK. The summer might be longer than the previous ones. All you have to do is look at the sky at night time.

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