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Improving Yourself Over the Summer

It’s summertime and you don’t know what to do. All your friends got internships, are studying abroad or are taking summer classes. Maybe you’re stuck at home or in Lawrence wondering what you are
going to do with all this spare time you have this summer. Maybe you’ll try to hit the pool or excersize more. While relaxing is good, the summer is also a great time to work on improving yourself both personally and professionally. It’s a time to set aside the other craziness you have that normally goes on and reevaluate. Looking to improve yourself this summer? Here are some ideas on ways to make yourself a more well-rounded and satisfied person this summer.

1. Work on your online presence– You may spend everyday on Facebook and Twitter, but do you ever think about how you present yourself on those sites? These days, everyone from the guy you met at a party the night before to your future employers look at your social media sites, so why not make them look as good as you can? Number one tip:  Use the grandma rule. If you would be embarrassed by your grandma reading or seeing it, you probably shouldn’t put it up (if you have a grandma who’s a dirty old lady, do the opposite of what she would.) Another great way to help your online presence is to start a blog, especially with material that has to do with your future career interest. 

2. Explore a new hobby– Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Learn how to knit? Go hiking? Who’s stopping you? Enroll in a local ceramics class, or find an online knitting tutorial. Find something that you never even thought you might have an interest in and try it. Who knows, you might just find yourself with a new passion, plus something cool to put on a resume!

3. Set goals for yourself– Recently, I did this for myself. I wrote down personal, work, school and relationship goals. I had the regular ones, like get better grades, and workout more. But I also dreamed big. And you should too. Be as specific as you can and maybe you’ll figure something out you didn’t realize before. Don’t let yourself settle for being mediocre. You have all the potential in the world to be extraordinary, and your dreams reflect that. After writing down those goals, put them somewhere you’ll see them again. Maybe make a poster and hang it on your wall. Put them on your mirror. Look at them everyday.

4. Work on those goals– Obviously with all goals, you’re not going to achieve them in a night. They take work. And with some free time this summer you can put in the extra work that make them happen. One of my good friends has a dream to make a documentary about sharks, so she got in contact with two of the biggest contributors to Shark Week from the Discovery Channel and is now in communication with them about a possible future in the field. You might not be able to go to those extremes, but even the little things will help you get one step closer to reaching those goals.

5. Get to know someone not your age– Find someone who is nowhere near your age (like over or under five years) and really get to know him or her. Learn his or her story. If that person is older, let him or her help you. If that person is younger, help him or her. Either way, you’re going to find yourself learning from a perspective so different than the one you are using. Looking at the world from the eyes of someone in a totally different circumstance than you can drastically change how you see yourself and others.

6. Travel– You might not have the money to get out of the country, but you might be able to explore a new place in your state. Grab a couple friends and find a city you’ve never been to, or even go hiking on your own. Get to know yourself better and think about the world and your choices and everything in it. Even within your own country and state you can find places that will blow your mind and change the way you look at life.

So even if your summer doesn’t seem like it will be the best ever, you have every choice to make it that way. You are the master of your fate, and you can use the summer to maybe make your life just a little bit better!

 

Laura Lyndall Fagen is a junior at the University of Kansas majoring in Strategic Communications and Theater. She is a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters and loves all things volunteering.
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