By Kaylee Johnson
It can be easy to throw away your graded essays and let your pile of books collect dust over the summer, but how you spend your summer will determine how well you do in your classes during the fall semester. It is important to use your time constructively, since it seems like we are always running out of it. Some people assume that the college experience includes going to wild house parties and waking up with one shoe on and blue mascara running down your face. In reality each student is different, and some people are not wired for that lifestyle. After a certain age you have to retire your bright colored makeup and spend your time productively, at least most days.
I suggest you devote this summer to yourself. So many times I see students who seem like they have a lot of potential drop out because of a lack of confidence. I encourage you to browse your local bookstore and find a few books that speak to you. I also recommend you finish the books even if it is painful. Reading has so many great benefits such as expanding your vocabulary and stress relief, and it keeps your brain sharp. When you are young summers are busy; most students spend hot summer days working or taking summer classes. It is still vital to take at least 20 minutes per day to do something that makes you more valuable. I once had a classmate who said he had not picked up a book in 10 years, but was reintroduced to reading in a literature class. I wondered how that was possible, and jumped to the automatic assumption that he must have had terrible parents who never read to him as a child. After speaking with him I realized that even if you disliked reading as a child, you can enjoy it as an adult. Read the newspaper, magazines, and history about the places you travel to. What some don’t realize is you can travel without leaving your home with the power of books.
It may be a good idea to volunteer your time, even if it does not count as community service. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen or nursing home can be extremely rewarding. If you plan on working with children eventually you should volunteer at a daycare center to gain knowledge and wisdom from people who have experience. If you are an animal lover, spend your days at your local animal shelter. Volunteering can be very humbling, and it’s an excellent way to give back to your community. It can help you to come out of your shell and gain social skills as well.
I urge you to think about interning this summer. Not only will you gain experience, but it may make you more valuable to employers. There are plenty of businesses that could benefit from interns. At the end of the summer you will leave feeling a step ahead of your classmates.
Using your summer constructively is important, and if you practice these habits you will eventually become the master of time management. I still believe that in order to fully enjoy your life you need to make time for pajama days, movie nights, shopping, and brunch with friends. Those fun activities can be compared to junk food; they should be done in moderation. As the summer progresses hopefully your mindset will shift and reading outside while absorbing sunlight will be added to your list of fun activities.
Make sure you are prepared for classes. Order your textbooks in July or early August, so you can be sure you will receive them in time. Buy your school supplies when they are cheap. Professors notice the students who are not prepared; they stick out like sore thumbs. Also, there is nothing worse than a college student showing up to class empty handed.
Everybody has a different balance. Most of this depends on whether you are introverted or extroverted. Each person is unique, but I still believe that there are books that even the most reluctant readers will love. I wish you all a bright and lively summer. I sincerely hope you can sprinkle some of my constructive habits into your day to day life, even if it is in small doses.