No internship? No problem. There are tons of ways to be productive during your three months of freedom! Try some of these out if you want to get the most out of every day of summer this year:
1. Learn a New Language (or Relearn an Old One)
If you’re anything like me, you took a foreign language during high school and have not nurtured your skills in years. Luckily, summer is the perfect time to finally redownload Duolingo and get to studying! Not only will this increase your intercultural competence and force your brain to exercise, but it will also help you in future language courses if that’s a requirement for your major.
2. Find a Fun Part Time Job
Work as a barista at a local earthy cafe. Be the coolest counselor at a summer camp. Sell peaches while wearing cute overalls at a farmers market. Whatever you end up doing as a part time job this summer, romanticize the experience to make it something you look forward to. If it builds your savings, strengthens your communication skills, and you have the slightest bit of fun doing it… I say it’s 100% worth it!
3. Take Advantage of the Nice Weather
It won’t be long before you’re back on campus, cursing at the cold air while walking to class. Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts by taking walks, bike rides, or exploring parts of nature you otherwise never would have thought of going to.
4. Prioritize your Health, Both Physical AND Mental
Show gratitude to your body this summer by drinking water, wearing sunscreen, taking your vitamins, and staying active. It’s easy to neglect these care tasks during the school year, especially during finals. See this summer as a recharging period–– once you go back to school, you’ll feel good as new!
As for your mental health, use these three months to feel better from within. The best part is, you decide what makes you feel good, not anyone else. Journal your feelings, wake up early to meditate, sleep in to feel cozy, take a social media detox, get back into art… whatever it is, take the time to reset your work-work-work-work mindset into something a little more relaxing. It’s excellent to have an emotional change of pace, and your mental wellbeing will definitely thank you for it.
5. Get Ahead of your Credits
Trying to get ahead of your schoolwork or want to graduate on time? Take a credit or two over the summer to lend your future self a hand. Whether it’s through a local community college or one of TCNJ’s virtual classes, it’s a great way to stay productive this summer.
6. Take Free Online Courses
If enriching your mind sounds fun, but spending hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars does not, I have the perfect solution. There are so many amazing resources available online for free, including LinkedIn certification programs and even free Harvard virtual classes. If these don’t strike your fancy, try learning more about topics you’re passionate about through YouTube videos, such as grammar, social justice, or film analysis.
7. Open an Online Shop
With the existence of social media platforms like TikTok, it’s never been easier to market products. If you have a passion for creating or have a skill to sell… use this summer to make a fun and lucrative hobby out of it! Etsy, Redbubble, Depop, and even Instagram are excellent digital marketplaces to profit off of your talents.
8. Clean Out Your Closet
Personally, I really struggle with letting go of old things–– especially clothing. Because of this annoying habit, my closet is quite literally overflowing with clothes that I just don’t wear! Use this summer to purge your closet of all the unworn blouses, too-small skinny jeans from high school, and failed thrifted DIY projects. Make three piles: donate (for things in good condition that are out of style), resell (for the things that are still trendy or brand new), and cut into rags (for the bleach-stained, ratty t-shirt variety). Once you do this, you’ll be surprised how much less stressful it is to pick out an outfit in the morning.
9. Volunteer for an Organization You’re Passionate About
There are tons of amazing local organizations and charities that want positive, motivated volunteers to help out. If you have a passion for altruism or want to be surrounded by like-minded individuals, this might be the perfect plan for you this summer. Find one that speaks to you and have at it!
10. Set a Goal, Any Goal!
This one demands a little creativity, but goal-setting is an important skill to keep under your belt. Regardless of what you wish to achieve, the anatomy of a goal is simple: come up with a desired outcome, an action that helps attain that desire, and your schedule to achieve it. Boom, you have yourself a summer goal. It could be anything, really–– to read a book each week, train your dog to roll over, make the perfect banana bread… whatever it is, you just want to be able to look back on your summer and be proud that you stuck with it.
For example: to be more financially independent, you want to go back to campus with a comfortable amount of discretionary income. So, you plan to get a part time job that puts $2,500 in your savings by the end of August. Desired outcome, action, schedule. Ta-da!
11. Spend Time With your Loved Ones
It’s been a rough year for everyone, and times have never been this stressful or lonely. As more of your friends and family begin to get vaccinated, prepare some nice trips with them to have something joyful to look forward to! Plan to stop by your grandma’s for iced tea and a chat. Text your hometown friends that you want to go on a hike. DM a friend-crush that you should get bagels sometime. Whatever it is, make a point to just be around people (NOT through a Zoom screen) once it’s safe.