The Best Ways to Spend Summer Break
At long last, it’s summer! No more essays, no more exams, and no more worries…right? If you’re like me, it can be a shocking change of pace. Your routine’s been rendered worthless. It’s as if you’ve been on a plane to Florida and just got off in Alaska. Everything is different. You didn’t prepare for this! What do you do now?
Lucky for you, these activities are sure to stave off the summer break blues. From much-needed relaxation to making progress on your career path, this list has you covered. My advice is to set goals over the summer, focusing on what you want to improve most before classes are back in session. Whether you want to focus on your mind, body, or soul this break, here are some summer break bucket list items to help get you started!
Enroll in Summer Classes
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Just because it’s break doesn’t mean you can’t take classes! Unlike in high school, summer school isn’t a punishment; It’s a great way to get ahead or catch up on your studies.
Summer courses are shorter (typically less than two months), which means you can earn credits quicker. Last summer, I took classes both online and on-campus. All of them were laid-back and easier to handle than my classes during the semester. If you’re willing to sacrifice a small piece of your summer, enroll for classes right away!
Apply for an Internship
Another activity that focuses on getting ahead. An internship is a great way to explore your career while still in college. It can inform you if the major you’re pursuing is a good fit or not. Having an internship also beefs up your resume and fosters connections in the field, which will help you land your dream job later on down the line. Best of all, you’ll have experience working in the industry, which puts you ahead of the competition.
If you’re still undecided about your major, internships can help you explore your options. Even if it’s not for your degree, internships can help you develop valuable life skills. Some are also paid, meaning you can earn while you learn!
Get a Job
You’ll need cash to pay for all the popsicles you’ll be getting at the pool this summer. Consider taking on a part or full-time job. I recommend working part-time through all of college, not just on break. Having a job not only helps put money in your pocket but work experience under your belt. The benefits are similar to having an internship. You’ll develop soft skills, such as critical thinking and communication. It also beefs up your resume. This summer get to job searching!
Start Your Own Business
If you want to rake in some dough this summer while setting your own hours, why not start your own business? No, you don’t have to invest in a billion-dollar company. I mean offering a service. For example, there are several relevant to summer, such as doing yard work, babysitting, or walking dogs in your neighborhood. If you have a special hobby or skill, share it! Offering music lessons, sewing, and other services are a great way to turn your passion into an occupation! I draw cartoon portraits and do logo design. My sister paints windows for people in town. The possibilities are endless!
Volunteer or Join an Activist Group
Focus on more than just yourself this summer. Volunteering or joining an activist group is sure to make your summer (and those in need’s) a little brighter. There are plenty of opportunities. Volunteer at a retirement home, playing music or hosting an activity for the residents. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister for a child in need. For more volunteer opportunities, check out https://www.volunteermatch.org/.
Finish Your Spring Cleaning
I’m going to let you in on a little secret… I didn’t do any spring cleaning. Better late than never, however, and this summer it’s time to get to it! Sort through everything, from your bookbag to that stuff shoved under your bed, and rid of whatever you don’t use. This is a quick way to reduce clutter and even make a bit of cash, selling old possessions you’ve been letting collect dust. Just be careful! I’ve heard the dust bunnies are particularly pesky this time of year!
Reconnect with Family and Friends
Now that you’re finally free from campus, consider going home to your family. Even if it’s just for a quick visit, it’s good to check-in. If you’ve been distant, maybe now’s the time to mend those broken bonds. You’ll have plenty to catch up on. My high school friends and I like to get together for a summer reunion since we’ve been separated since college. People will come and go in your life. It’s important to hold on to friends and family. Besides, it’s nice to have someone to spend the summer with.
Ditch Unhealthy Habits
Have a goal to better your health, mentally and/or physically, this summer. Instead of staying up until dawn, try to get a full night’s sleep each night. Get that gym membership and work on the fitness goals you’ve had since New Year’s. Summer is the perfect time to rid of old habits and replace them with new, good habits!
Fuel Your Passions
Now that school’s out, turn homework time into hobby time! Work on something you love doing and focus on developing your skills. If you don’t have a hobby, now’s the perfect time to find one! Look for something that will keep you busy yet content this summer. You might even go back to school with a new major in mind, based on your new-found passion! If your hobby is a bit costly, consider turning it into a business to earn back the money you spend.
Plant a Garden
Gardens take a lot of maintenance and time but can yield beautiful results. If you want a project you can watch grow throughout the summer, get to planting! Even if you don’t have a yard, you can create an indoor garden with a couple of plastic containers and a can-do attitude. Decide what you’re going to plant, whether it’s herbs, greens, or flowers, and dedicate some time every day to tend to them.
Make a Binge List
This is one of my personal favorites. During the semester, new movies, shows, books, and games are coming out all the time. There are also plenty of classics I’ve never got around to. What I like to do is make a list on my phone of all the books I want to read and shows I want to watch. Now that it’s the summer and I have time to indulge, I have a whole list of stuff to try!
If you’re feeling burnt out after two tough semesters, focus on the break part of summer break. Work on getting back to a normal mental and physical state. You don’t have to be constantly doing something productive. Unwind with your favorite Netflix original, or go to the lake and toss in a fishing line. You’re not going to veer off course if you take a couple of months to simply relax and rid of all your pent-up stress.
Embrace the Summer
These are just a few ways you can make the most of the summer. While I encourage you to try a few of these activities, embrace that you’re on break. Release those worries and take care of yourself. You deserve this. As a matter of fact, why are you still reading this? Go enjoy your summer!
Mild-mannered student by day, writer by night... but typically by day, I’m Bailey Werner, current junior and graphic design major at Fort Hays State University. With a passion for storytelling that stemmed from 3rd grade writing hour, I’ve been crafting worlds and characters as a hobby for over a decade. Now, as a part-time content creator for the school, I’m living out my dream of writing professionally. If I’m not in my room reading, gaming, or making art, you can find me at the lake. I strongly believe in the power of storytelling, and I’ll continue to use my writing skills after graduation, in my work as a graphic designer.