This summer is a time for new beginnings and adventures!
Looking for ideas of things to do this summer? Here are some to get your own summer bucket list started.
1. Visit an art museum.
I love going to the Nelson-Atkins Art Gallery near where I live, but there are great museums all around that you could make a road trip out of: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri, the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. Bring your family or friends and check out some cool art. Or go to your city's First Fridays and art walks, festivals, and market days. Those are really fun to do and get to see another side of your town.
2. Watch a whole series on Netflix.
What summer list would be complete without binge-watching Netflix shows. Watch that show that's been on your list all school year but you just haven't had time to. No, not just one season, but the whole series. I personally will be rewatching Criminal Minds from the beginning, with a bit of Parks and Recreation sprinkled in there.
3. Walk your dog at the park.
Wanna get outside? Take your dog with you! He'll appreciate the time spent with you outside of the house, and you'll appreciate a change in scenery. Nature is fun and parks are easy, low-stress ways to enjoy it. Try going once a week this summer, the weather will be nice!
4. Read some books.
Now that school is out, you have some free time to read whatever you want instead of textbooks! There are definitely good books out there, you just gotta find what you like. I recommend using Goodreads, it's awesome for the reader looking for suggestions or reviews. Here are some book lists with suggestions for college-aged readers.
5. Sell Your Excess Stuff.
We all could use a little more money, plus reducing the amount of things we unnecessarily own. Why not get two birds with one stone and sell the stuff you don't need? Online sites like Poshmark, Ebay, Facebook groups, Amazon, Craigslist, a consignment shop, or buyback programs. Especially those textbooks that you're never gonna use again. I know I have a lot of clothes that I could donate or sell that I hardly ever wear. It requires some work to get it all together and list them and such, but it will probably be worth it in the end, instead of just having it sit around in your closet.
There are many opportunities right near you to volunteer to help. If you have some free time this summer and are looking to give back to your community, I highly encourage it. Just a little bit of your time is greatly appreciated by the people who are benefiting from it. If you need some help with where to help: the HelpOut site can be a good place to look for suggestions if you're in the Springfield area, or VolunteerMatch if you're somewhere else in the U.S.
7. Pick up a new hobby.
Our diversity and interests and passions makes us who we are. It also adds to our skills and resume. Some things I would be interested in spending more time doing are playing an instrument, painting and drawing, photoshop design and coding, dancing or yoga, working out/exercise, photography, writing, learning a new language (I suggest French! or the language of a country you plan to study abroad), learn to cook new recipes, or pretty much any random thing that sounds fun. Now that you have an abundance of time, look into getting started with that thing that was always on the back-burner of your mind.
8. Get a job, internship, or job shadow.
Summer jobs are pretty common among students, so if you don't have one already, it's a great way to spend your time. Or go for an internship, so it also helps in your future. Some majors require a certain amount of hours of internship to graduate for your degree, so now would be a good time to research that. If you're looking to network or learn more about your intended field, try job shadowing! It really lets you get a feel for what you may be doing every day once you start your career and gets you in touch with people who could help you in the long run, whether as a reference, a mentor, or someone to help you land a job that they know about and can recommend you for.
9. Get informed.
There's a lot going on in the world right now. With the presidential election coming up this November 2016, now is the prime time to look into the candidates that will be running for each party and think about who you want to vote for in the general election. Each party will have a candidate, and one of the two will most likely be your next President of the United States. Think seriously about what that job entails and who would really be best for it. The presidency is a huge responsibility and actually affects people like me and you, so I wouldn't make the decision lightly.
Research online about each person and their values and plans for the future. An understanding of their campaign will help you make informed decisions as a voter. Even if you're not 18, learning about these things will help you make conversations with other people around you who will surely be talking about it a lot in this election season. It helps to personally decide what your own values are too. Sometimes we think differently than our parents or people around us, and that is okay. Stick with what you believe if it is grounded in reason and logic, with an awareness of social context and implications. America is changing, but it is still the land of the free and home to many different types of people whose voices deserve to be heard through elections. Trust in the system and do your duty as a citizen by voting.
10. Self-improvement through reflection.
Many young adults have aspects of ourselves that we'd like to change and work on. That may be anything from big to small. It really helps to reflect on that and put into motion some self-improvement. For you that may mean working out, getting out there, learning some things that you didn't quite understand all the way in class, journaling, ending some bad habits, starting some better habits, spending more time with important people in your life, practicing a skill, de-cluttering your life, eating healthier, or anything you can think of. Summer is a good time when you have a little less worries and can focus on yourself a little more. If there's something you'd like to change in your life for the better, change it! Go ahead and live to your fullest potential and make the best of what you have.
11. Enjoy your summer.
Relax and just enjoy these months off of school. Nap, play video games, play with your pets, hang out with your siblings, and let your brain cool down from a stressful semester. Go swimming, cycling, hike some trails, do some camping, go to concerts, shop at flea markets, level up in your favorite video game, lose yourself in the depths of the internet, and do whatever you want (disclaimer: as long as it's not harmful to yourself or others). You don't need me to tell you to have fun this summer, but I hope you do!