As the last two weeks of the semester round up, it’s impossible to forget that summer is quickly approaching. Sure the weather is nice and the livin’ is easy, but what are some ways to make the most of your summer? We all want to enjoy summer, but it’s a great time to be productive, seek opportunities, and grow. What are the “best” ways to spend the summer? I could give you some obvious advice you’ve already heard a million times. Work, intern, volunteer, make connections, travel… these are all great things to do during the summer. My advice would be to do one of those or all of those, but also to spend some of your free time doing things you might not have had time for during the semester.
Start playing an instrument, or pull the one you have out from un der your bed. Learn a second language, or at least begin to learn one. Start being more active and get in shape.
Learn how to cook. Take up a hobby you’ve always wanted to try. Painting. Sewing. Karate. Let your creative side come out. You might have been pretty creative in some of your projects and papers, but it’s a whole new thing to be creative and intellectual on your own time.
One thing I greatly miss during the semester is reading novels. I still read them most nights, but my pace is slower, and I’m much more tired after doing homework. I can’t wait for the summer to come so I can catch up on some reading and power through novels I’ve been waiting to read.
Maybe I’m a nerd, but I think there is so much to learn from books! I might not add my summer reading list to my resume, but I have no doubt that I will never regret time I spent reading. James Bryce said, “The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.” A good book contains a message. It takes you into another world. I encourage you to spend this summer working, interning, and traveling, but I also encourage you to make good use of your free time, whatever it may amount to.
I’ll leave you with a few reading suggestions. If you have books lined up, read those. We all have our own preferences. However, if you’re struggling to find a good book and don’t know where to start, let me suggest some.
The Hunger Games Series: Obviously these were a huge hit. It seems everyone has read them. Truth is, everyone hasn’t. Half my friends who went to the movie have not read the books. The movie was excellent, but the books, naturally, are much richer. They’re an easy read and are packed with action.
Fun Home: The only book I’ve ever read for class that I actually loved. It felt like recreational reading, but it was so much deeper. The graphic novel, by Alison Bechdel, is somewhat of a memoir of her late father. It’s rich, complex, and filled with many messages. If you want to start a book club with a few friends, I’d recommend this one. It’s a great conversation book.
Nickel and Dimed: Truth is, I’ve only read bits and pieces of this book. It’s excellent. Barbara Ehrenreich, the author and a professional journalist, experienced first hand what it’s like to try and live off of minimum wage. The reading is easy and the message runs deep.
My own summer reading list is filled with a bunch of old books I’ve never gotten around to reading. I try to make a big mental list and finish what I can. On my own list: The Color Purple, Looking for Alaska, The Joy Luck Club, Salem’s Lot, and Frankenstein, among a few others. I like to keep it mixed up. Intellectual reads, mysteries, humor, and classics. I can’t quite describe what it is about reading. It puts my brain in motion and makes it work; yet it’s so relaxing. When I stare at a computer screen or a television, I feel near nothing as far as brain activity. There are real consequences to never working your brain. Your attention span decreases, you lose creativity, and you become more depressed. There have been studies. So in case you need a reason to read beyond that it’s fun and wonderful, there you go!