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This past school year has drained the life out of me. I may be dramatic in my accusation against the online classes and my professors’ ability to teach me the course content. However, I’m sure I’m not the first to admit that the coronavirus and a year of online classes, has made me even more excited for a school-free summer. Here are my top five summer plans for myself and my mind. 

Journal

I recently read a poem from the book “Pillow Thoughts II” by Courtney Peppernell. Her book is comprised of a series of poems that are meant to heal the heart and teach the reader to love themselves and the life they live. 

 

“Make lists when happiness feels far away

Think of the sky turning orange after a hot summer’s day, of leaves in the fall

Of overgrown sweatshirts and paintings on brick walls 

Think of hot chocolate in the winter 

Think of music and lying in the grass, and things that make your heart beat fast

Think of these things, as you go about your day

Happiness is never really that far away” (Peppernell).

 

Therefore my first summer plan is to journal more.

I have always been someone who thrives on journaling due to its incredible ability to draw out my inner thoughts that have been harbored by my priorities and goals for myself. This school year has taught me that life is worth living and part of living your life to its fullest is having the ability to be in touch with your inner thoughts and mind. There are a lot of feelings and emotions we as human beings harbor deep town within ourselves as a way to heal and motivate ourselves to keep pushing towards our goals. However, I’m a victim of getting caught up in the current moment and not taking the much time needed to process my life and the experiences I’ve been through. I want to work on journaling over the summer and work on finding my inner passions and feelings towards life and my goals. I want to relearn the inner workings of my mind and body. 

Watch the Sunrise More 

As the previous poem stated above, I am also passionate about sunsets and sunrises and the symbols they embody. Watching a sunrise means so much more to me than just watching a series of colors fade into one another. Watching a sunrise means that I am awake and ready to embrace the day. For some reason when I have woken up and watched the sunrise in the past, it has always given me the motivation and inner power to know that I am capable of whatever the day has to bring. Part of finding myself and discovering who I truly also means having confidence that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to and part of that confidence is fueled by watching the rise of a new day that has the potential to bring great things into my life. 

Take More Chances 

I’m sure I’m not the first to admit but, the coronavirus has transformed me into someone who fears the outside world and more specifically, public places. I know that the virus is still in full swing and isn’t going away anytime soon, I have to have hope that with the vaccines things will get better. Therefore, I am pledging to myself that this summer I will take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. I refuse to let the virus take away my passion for life and passion to experience the beauties this world has to offer. My friend recently asked me to go to Rolling Loud with her in the summer and even though it will take immense preparation and safety protocols, I believe this could be a good chance to gain some of my independence back. I want to expose life and make myself aware of the amazing opportunities that I may be missing out on. I want to live my life better and fully experience everything that the universe has decided to put in my life. Unfortunately, I lost a very close family friend to the virus very early on this year, and I believe I owe it to him to experience life for both of us, in hopes to live some of the life he might’ve missed. 

Build My Future

This may sound basic but this summer I really want to dive more into the opportunities around me in Athens and back in my hometown. I want to discover the opportunities that I may have to my advantage due to being a student at Ohio University. I recently was offered an executive position with Variant Magazine, a publication that is tied to Ohio University. I accepted this position and honestly being offered the position made me realize what I’m capable of. The executive members that interviewed me saw something in me, a passion and light, and decided to take a chance on a sophomore who only recently joined the past year. Accepting this position has fueled me to reach out to companies and offer my assistance. I have realized the amazing things that I’m capable of and want to run with that this summer. I want to build on my skills and resume and take advantage of my current situation as a student. Many people have big summer plans to travel and join amazing teams for internships, instead I want to really assess my career goals and find organizations and companies that align with my passions. 

Build Stronger Relationships

This past year has been a whirlwind of trauma and loss. But like many others, I have chosen to rise above it all and focus on myself and the people I care about. By doing this I have realized who is truly there for me and who isn’t. I have come to realize what relationships in my life are worth salvaging and what relationships are worth my effort and time. This summer I also pledge to myself to take advantage of the people that surround me that truly want the best for me. I want to grow my relationships with these special souls and discover more about their live and future plans. I want to focus on making memories, small or big, with the people that I know will be supporting me for many years to come. The coronavirus has taken a lot from me, it has taken people that I’ve loved deeply, it’s taken my confidence and more importantly, it’s taken a piece of me that I will never get back. However, it’s also taught me things that my classes, professors, and even fellow students will never be able to teach me. It’s taught me what really matters in my life, my family, the spaces that I consider safe, and more importantly how to be brave enough to ask for help when it feels like I’m drowning in a neverending river of sorrow and despair. I will not let the virus negatively impact me anymore, and I will cherish the valuable traits it allowed me to gain. I’ve become incredibly self-aware and in a world like this one, I think that’s a very rare trait to find in people. 

Whether you’re a student, teacher, or even a follower of Her Campus reading this, use this summer to heal from this year but also use it as a time to reflect on what this past school year has taught us about our country and more importantly, the values and morals of our individual selves. 

Emily Squance is a sophomore at Ohio University studying communications in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She is an active member of Variant Magazine and Active Minds. She likes to spend her time outside hiking with friends and listening to a broad range of music. Her words to live by are "treat people with kindness and compassion." : )
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