Summer vacation is the perfect time to relax and recharge. It’s important to take a break from schoolwork and other responsibilities. However, summer is also a perfect time to explore new ideas and try new things. So before you pack up your car and head to the beach, you might want to consider more productive ways to spend your time.
Don’t get me wrong – I love to lay out in the sun and splash around in the pool. But I also make time for activities that will give me a little boost for the upcoming semester. Here are a few tips and strategies that I use to keep my skills sharp over the long summer break.
Volunteering your time to a nonprofit or charity organization is one of the most rewarding ways to fill your schedule this summer. Not only will you get a chance to network and meet some amazing people, but you will also create a positive impact in your community.
You can make an appointment to volunteer at your local homeless shelter or food kitchen. If that’s not enough for you, Habitat for Humanity offers alternative school break programs that allow you to spend your break building homes for the less fortunate.
If you want to make changes in your community, there are plenty of options for you. Donate your clothes, shoes, and toys to Goodwill, start a community garden, or even sponsor a charity bake sale or car wash. Even the smallest contribution can have a major impact on someone’s life.
The most popular form of summer schoolwork is the summer reading list. I know you’re probably super excited not to have a summer reading list in college, but try not to disregard the idea completely. Reading is a great way to keep your mind sharp between semesters. It helps improve your vocabulary and your writing skills, and it’s actually fun if you choose the right book.
Lately I’ve been loving non-fiction books, specifically marketing and business books. But I love sitting down with a good novel now and then, too. If you don’t want to get sand between your book pages, you can also try reading an eBook on your iPad or tablet. Check out Barnes & Noble’s summer reading section for a sneak peek at some of this summer’s hottest titles. Most of their books are also available in digital formats.
It doesn’t matter what you write. Just do it! This summer, I’m focusing mainly on writing blog posts, but I’ve been known to write fiction when I have the time. Most people learn by doing, so the best way to improve your writing skills is to practice!
You could write poetry, short stories, or even a novel. Try to sit down and write at least once or twice per week. If you’re serious about writing, you should probably aim to write every day.
Not sure how to stay motivated? Set a weekly goal for yourself and give yourself a reward if you reach that goal. For example, you could treat yourself to an ice cream cone or a day at the mall if you write three times a week. It doesn’t have to be a ton of extra work. Start small and work your way up. Come fall, your professors will appreciate the extra effort.
Learn Something New.
Maybe you’re a hands-on learner and spending your days with your nose in a book isn’t going to work for you. If you find yourself running out of things to do, try picking up a new hobby or skill. Summer is a great time to learn new things because you will have plenty of free time to practice.
Last summer, I picked up crocheting. The summer before that, I taught myself how to draw. This year, I’m brushing up on my marketing skills and learning how to promote my blog.
Choose something that you enjoy, or something that compliments your personality. Are you hands-on and artistic? Try pottery classes. Tech savvy? Try learning to code. Want to be more active? Take up hiking or jogging. Studying abroad in the fall? Pick up a new language. The possibilities are endless. If you want to get really technical, take an online course over the summer! Check out my post, 10 Online Learning Resources for College Students, for some really awesome online learning sites.
If you have no idea where to start, you can check out YouTube for tutorials on pretty much anything. It took me less than two hours to learn the basic crochet stitches. If you practice for an hour or two each day, you can learn anything!
Get a Summer Job or Internship.
This option takes the most planning, but it is one of the most rewarding ways to spend your summer. My school requires internships during winter break, but I decided to defer to the summer session and get a little more experience out of my internship.
A job or internship is a great way to get yourself out of the house, pad your resume, and learn new skills. It’s also a good opportunity to network, make new friends, and of course, earn a little spending money. If you want to find an internship but don’t know where to start, check out my post detailing 5 Steps to Finding your Dream Internship.
If you want the benefits of summer work without the time commitment, try offering your services online. My favorite online hustle site is Upwork. It allows you to find freelance opportunities in multiple disciplines and get paid either a flat or hourly rate. You might even luck out and find a long-term remote position. You can also try your hand at dog walking with Rover, driving for Uber, or becoming a nanny, pet sitter, or babysitter on Care.com.
Whatever you decide to do this summer, just remember that the best way to keep your mind sharp is to keep it busy.
I hope this post gave you a few good ideas that will help you stay productive this summer. Remember that it’s still okay to go out and have fun, but trust me – you will feel amazing knowing that you actually accomplished something productive!
If you found this post helpful, share it with your friends to help them get motivated for a productive summer. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I can’t wait to hear from you!