My first summer after college was completely pittered away. All I did all summer was sit on the couch and scroll through social media when I wasn't watching an inordinate amount of TV. When I went back to school in the fall, I struggled to stay awake and engaged in lecture and needed a coffee or soda before every single class just because my brain had gotten so lazy over the summer.
The next summer, I did summer school; the one after that, I worked full time, and last summer, I had a summer internship, so it's safe to say I've since learned a thing or two about how to enjoy productive summers as a college student. Here are ten of my best tips!
This is less of a choice and more of a biological necessity for most of us, especially those of us in hard majors, but you will not be able to reset and enjoy your summer properly until you are caught up. Throughout summer, be sure you sleep at least 8 hours per night (more if your body requires it.)
And you know the other stuff you should be doing: drinking water, exercising, eating lots of fruits and veggies. Do those things too.
2. Limit Netflix, Hulu, and social media.Giphy
This is not true resting; it's just distraction and will often make you feel agitated, depressed, low in self-confidence, unhappy, and isolated from friends and family. You will regret it when August rolls around and you watched Netflix all summer. That's not to say you should quit them cold turkey, but to check social media a couple of times a day and enjoy an episode or two in the evenings before bed is enough for anybody, and plus, you'll enjoy it a lot more!
3. Think about your goals.Giphy
Sit down with your journal and planner and consider your life goals.
How are you doing? What changes should be made this summer so that you can make next semester even more productive? What do you want to achieve this summer that will ultimately bring you closer to your life goals? Make some goals for the summer and go after them!
4. See friends.Giphy
If you're at home for the summer, hit up some high school friends. This should not necessarily be the same group with whom you spent all of high school since you are all evolving into adults who may have nothing in common anymore. Think about the people you admired or wished you could have gotten to know better and ask them to grab coffee or food. Not every single high school friendship is worth cultivating, but many are, and you know which those are.
5. Feed yourself with inspiration.Giphy
Likely, this is something you forget to do when drowning in homework and textbooks but now is a perfect time to rekindle the person that you really are, separated from the exhausted, stressed collegiate zombie you are during the semesters. Do you remember loving a certain activity so much in your younger years that you could happily pass hours in it, never noticing the passing time? Do you remember your heart swelling with ideas, plans, goals? Get back to that. Don't sacrifice it to adult responsibilities and Netflix. There is creativity in you and along with the genius in you.
6. Read some books.Giphy
Reading isn't everybody's favorite hobby, but there is no one whose life wouldn't be improved by the intellectual contributions offered by books. During seasons of rest, I personally prefer to focus on getting inspired, so I like to read biographies of people I admire, works of fiction, and books about topics similar to my goals.
7. Establish new habits.Giphy
Summer is the perfect time to start something new, because you aren't wearing yourself out with school and extracurriculars, leaving you extra time and energy to discipline yourself. Whether you want to start working out, journaling, or eating healthfully, now is your time.
8. Have some fun!Giphy
Instead of laying in the dark, scrolling through social media, watching others live their lives, get out there and live your own life. You aren't getting any younger. Call up your friends and make some plans, and talk to your parents about doing something fun as a family. Make some memories that will last!
9. Journal about your semester.Giphy
Write down your daily routine for each day of the week, your class schedule, what you thought of your professors and classes, and what your organization meetings were like. In a year, you won't remember any of this, and you will enjoy reading what you wrote.
I make a list every few months of things that make that particular season I'm in unique: studying at Starbucks on Tuesday mornings, laying by the pool with my best friend Friday afternoons, drinking Chardonnay after exams. These are the kind of things that you won't remember on your own, but when you read about them, your descriptions of the activities, routines, sights, and smells will bring them rushing back to your future self. You will thank yourself later for taking the time to record these memories!
10. Turn off your phone and be with the people around you.Giphy
This season won't last forever, and you might just remember your home, or college apartment, and the people in them later wishing you'd been more present. These are the good old days, so make the most of them!