10 Ways to Have a Productive Summer Vacation in College:
For many millennial college students, taking a summer course, (or even two), is no longer a last resort, but instead an expected route in order to stay on track, or effectively balance other extra-curricular activities by taking fewer semester units. And while this new college social norm around summer school is definitely positive for students and universities, many college students like myself often ask themselves, “But what about A SUMMER VACATION?”
And for a future orientated (real question: is that even a word?) person like myself, the prospect of not taking summer courses is frightening because heaven-forbid our resume’s fall behind, or our drive in school plunders during those three lost months. But thankfully, for any millennial like myself, (who need reassurance for far too much), it is healthy to remind yourself that if you are on track with your courses, or just desperately need a pause in life to reflect on your life, not taking summer courses is NOTHING TO BE GUILTY ABOUT.
But here is my personal fine print of that statement: taking a summer vacation in college is nothing to be guilty about if you are INTENTIONAL with your precious free time. Because guess what I know all too well?
Netflix exists. Donuts exist. Pinterest exists. Parties exist.
And guess what again? In moderation all of those things are beautiful accessories to a phenomenal summer, but if you want to use your summer vacation intentionally, the best way to start is by creating a blueprint for an intentional summer vacation.
Today I am going to share with you my blueprint for an intentional college summer vacation. And although I am going to list my top 10 things that I hope to accomplish this summer vacation, REMEMBER that just like any blueprint, mine is unique, and therefore not intended to work perfectly for everyone.
1.) TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY:
Chances are whether you are a party cat, adrenaline junkie or all-nighter fan, if you are a college student like myself, you have probably had a little too much caffeine and a little less sleep than you should have this past semester.
But it is summer time yay, which means NOW is your time to sit back and say “thank you” to your body for surviving another crazy year by TAKING CARE OF IT.
And I know the usual “take care of your body” ideas are not always that fun, but guess what is fun? Browsing creative blogs on the Internet and trying new things out. Personally, I love Peanut Butter Finger’s lifestyle blog, linked here: http://www.pbfingers.com/. This girl can make anything from drinking more water, getting on a better sleep schedule or even eating KALE SOUP, insanely delicious and radically exciting.
Plus as a bonus incentive to motivate your efforts towards better health this summer, I love shooting a quick text to a fellow college student and becoming health accountability partners. Not only does an accountability partner keep you motivated to keep getting healthy, but it also allows you to bond with your friends while being productive together.
2.) REVIVE OLD FRIENDSHIPS AND CREATE NEW ONES:
Confession: when I am insanely stressed with school or life, I consequently do not know how to balance my relationships very gracefully. As hard as I try, it seems I always end up feeling a bit isolated and out of touch with some of my dearest friends by the time finals are over.
Thankfully however, summer break is a perfect opportunity for college students to truly invest in their friendships without the stress of pending assignments crushing heir spirit, (A little too much? Probably.) Investing in old friendships can embody itself into your life in a variety of different ways. I personally love old school coffee dates, personal letters, or adventures with old friends.
3.) WORK, WORK, WORK, AND OH YEAH: SAVE MONEY:
Unfortunately college students have a lot of expenses to worry about during the semester, so spending some of your free time earning and SAVING money will definitely help lower your stress level come next Fall semester.
And if you are not too jazzed about getting a regular summer job, there are plenty of other opportunities to earn money like creating an Etsy shop, selling old items for friends on Craigslist, house sitting, dog sitting, etc.
Side note: Saving money is actually surprisingly fun if you turn it into a competition for yourself.
4.) INTENTIONALLY Hangout With Family:
I have been blessed to always live near my family in college, but for many students, summer is one of the only times they have to spend with their family. So why not use that time wisely? Family is such a precious gift, and I know for a fact that the older I get, the more I learn how irreplaceable my family bonds truly are.
Summer vacation then, is the perfect chance for college students like myself, whether living at home or not, to spend time with their family away from life’s distractions.
And more importantly, summer vacation is an ideal time to be mentally present and intentional with your family time. Personally, I want to use this summer vacation to listen to my grandparent’s stories, intentionally show my love through acts of service, and finally learn to love and listen to family in a deeper way than ever before.
5.) STAY FIT/WORKOUT:
It is easy to slide full speed into the lazy man routine the second you are not held to a tight and carefully dictated school schedule, LET ME TELL YOU. But the second you overcome that easy tendency to say goodbye to all responsibilities, rather than just school, getting back into a healthy summer workout routine is not terribly difficult.
The hardest part of working out during the summer for me is getting STARTED and staying INTERESTED.
And the two ways I like to combat those frustrations are: routine and inspiration.
For me, the best way to find routine is by setting a schedule for your workouts and STICKING WITH THEM until they start to become less like nails on a chalk board and more like a natural part of your productive summer routine.
I love finding my inspiration for working out on Pinterest. There are SO MANY incredible workout routines, hiking ideas, and tutorials online that I could honestly sit for hours searching for a SINGLE leg weight workout.
But the good news is that this abundance of posts means that there is NO EXCUSE for not getting motivated and inspired to workout this summer, so grab your favorite cup of perfectly flavored hazel nut coffee or herbal green tea, and start your workout routine by getting those fingers pinning. (Link to my workout fitness inspiration page: https://www.pinterest.com/allieblaising/workout-fitness-inspiration/).
6.) REDISCOVER OLD HOBBIES AND DISCOVER NEW ONES:
As college students most of us are incredibly blessed that we are free from stressfully worries about buying a house, saving for a retirement fund, etc., so why not use our summer vacation to rediscover old hobbies and create new ones? Because sadly this might be one of the last times we can for a while.
I personally never think about my old Extreme Couponing ways or trying to grow my photography business during the school semester. But during sweet summer time, my goodness, hand me my dusty coupon binder and hire me to shoot your wedding: I AM READY.
No matter what, summer vacation for college students is a great way to use your creativity to test different hobbies, (whether purely for fun, or for a particular purpose), without much pressure from the adult world.
7.) PLAN YOUR NEXT COLLEGE SEMESTER/YEAR and EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES:
If you have not already done so, planning out what classes you need to take next year, reviewing your transcripts or degree progress, is a great way to spend your summer vacation in college. And the wonderful part about planning your classes during the summer is that you have TIME to call the admissions office or check on the requirements for adding a minor, without being completely overwhelmed with other responsibilities.
And instead of spending your time browsing Facebook for down-time, (side note: does anyone actually use Facebook other than me?), summer vacation is a perfect time to research clubs or organizations that you may want to get involved with next semester.
This past month, I have spent hours and hours looking up CRU, Young Life, Communication clubs and research opportunities at Cal Poly and around San Luis Obispo. But doing this type of research probably would never happen for me during the semester, so I am thankful for a lazy summer that I can spend hours finding new outlets at my college campus or community that I want to participate in next year.
8.) LEARN SOMETHING NEW:
Just because we are not being forced to learn new things on summer vacation, (like we are in our college classes), does not mean that we should STOP learning new things, (PREACHING TO MYSELF MAINLY BTW).
Summer vacation is a great way to learn things that you would have never otherwise learned.
Try teaching yourself about the in’s and out’s of the stock market, pick up a new book about investing, baking or ice skating from your local library. Go wild.
9.) READ/EXPLORE DIFFERENT BOOK GENRES:
I used to detest reading growing up. But now, I am obsessed with it. Not only does reading pass the summer hours away, but it also makes you feel surprisingly productive.
And if you are still a skeptic on non-academic reading like I used to be, then first try several different genres of books before making your final judgment of reading. Romance, Comedy, Self-Help, Psychology… the list goes on. Chances are if you find your favorite genre, (mine is Psychology, biographies and self-help), you may change your view on reading.
My top 5 books this summer: 1.) Crazy Busy. 2.) Outliers: The Story of Success. 3.) The Power of Habit. 4.) The Tipping Point. 5.) Cold Tangerines.
10.) CREATE A VISION BOARD/RESEARCH DREAM CAREERS/INTERVIEW and CONNECT WITH SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE YOU ASPIRE TO BE LIKE:
College is 95% fun and 5% frightening, terrifying and anxiety-producing. And the reason for many of these unfortunate adjectives come down to this: THE WORLD EXPECTS COLLEGE STUDENTS TO KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO DO WITH THEIR LIFE.
And while no one is required to know exactly what they want to do after college, summer vacation does provides a stress-free environment to research an insanely stress filled topic: your FUTURE career. Everyone is different, but I personally love looking up my dream jobs and researching what certain individuals did to obtain their job title.
Plus, while you are at it, creating a LinkedIn account may not only help prepare your resume for future jobs, but also help you create valuable business connections with individuals in a career field you aspire to enter.