Self-Care Summer

The time in the semester, during which college students have the task of keeping up with huge due dates, prepping for final exams, and trying to book their flight home, is finally upon us, which means summer break is finally approaching. Even though I personally love Christmas and consider myself a true “Winter Baby,” I’d be lying if I claimed I didn’t relish in summer break just as much as my peers. The question then becomes, why do college students love summer break so much? I’d say the answer lies in the sheer sense of possibility that only summer break provides. Although this sense of possibility summer provides is a beautiful experience, not enough college students are taking advantage of it. Too many students start off the summer extremely excited, and then about two weeks later complain of being extremely bored with their time off from school. This summer I would like to challenge all college students to take advantage of the sense of possibility they have been awarded through time off from school.

     First, find a sense of possibility in your career passions. Summer is an excellent time to look for internships in the field you’re pursuing a career in. Internships allow you to get firsthand professional experience in what you want to do so that you can become better. It may seem like it’s too early to start the process of looking, but college goes by extremely fast. Before you know it you’ll be looking your future employer in the face, and when they ask what you’ve done to prepare for your career so far, you don’t want to have a blank look on your face. Now for those students who applied to their dream internship and didn’t get it, take a deep breath and realize everything’s good. So what if you didn’t get that internship you wanted? It’s not the end of the world in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, you’re going to get a lot of no’s in your life--that’s how life works--but how you react to being told no is what matters. Take a class at a college or university close to your hometown in the career field you’re pursuing. This may seem like the same thing you’d be doing at school anyway, but you won’t have a full schedule of classes during the summer, and taking a class at a different university will provide a completely new experience.

      Second, find a sense of possibility in your relationships with others. Take the time to visit your friends who attend different colleges than you. FaceTime and texting make it easy to stay in contact with friends, but nothing beats spending time together in real life. Go to the beach, grab some ice cream, or go to dinner. And remember to find time to spend with your family! Your parents and your younger siblings loved you before you became a fancy college student, and they most likely don’t get to see their baby as much now, especially if you’re going to college out of state. So go grocery shopping with your mom, help your dad mow the lawn, and find time to take your younger sibling out to the movies.

     Lastly, and arguably most importantly, find a sense of possibility in yourself. I love college, I really do. I get to live on a gorgeous campus with friends I’ve really grown to love over the years, and every day I get to learn about not only the field I’m pursuing, but also many things about the world. However, and this is a big however, college can be heavy on any student. We have the stress of trying to figure out what we’re going to do with our lives after college and managing all the academic work we are assigned every day. Additionally, if you’re a person of color, specifically a Black, we deal with threats and racially-motivated hate slurs that make us feel unwanted and unsafe on our campus while also having to be a student. So, if you don’t do anything else, take summer break as a time to recharge and truly practice self-care. Take a couple days to pamper yourself. Get your hair done. Do your nails in a new way. Treat yourself and go shopping. Write down affirmations and goals for the next school year in your journal. If you don’t have a journal, go get one. Watch your favorite movies and listen to your favorite music while eating a tub of ice cream for the day. Whatever self-care looks like for you and whatever makes you happy is what you should be doing this summer. Don’t miss the chance to find all of life's possibilities this summer because life’s too short, and so is the amount of summers you’ll get to experience.