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5 Things I’m Trying This Summer To Better Myself

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

College has truly changed my life for the better. I have met so many amazing people, tried new things, and had experiences I would have never had without UMass. While I am grateful for all of it, I am surely not alone in saying that it has been draining. It has been hard to form a fulfilling routine and make the best choices for myself when I have had a long day filled with work, classes, or other obligations. It almost seems like an impossible task to balance social, academic, and personal well-being. Summer is only three weeks away, and while I am sad to leave Amherst and my friends for the next few months, I have decided to try some new things during these months of respite. My hope is by integrating these small changes now, they will be habitual by the time I come back to school in the fall!


I have wanted to do journaling for a while now, but I was never quite sure where to start or what to write. I occasionally jot down my thoughts on paper or in my notes app, but I have never been consistent with it. I thought it seemed silly and did not have benefits. After researching, I realized the immense amount of benefits of journaling in a daily routine. I plan to spend ten to fifteen minutes each morning writing about my thoughts, goals, and aspirations on a daily level. Writing things down often makes goals and beliefs feel more tangible and achievable than just thinking about them. I think this as a small habit will be a game-changer for my mindset when it comes to my mental health.

Consistency In the gym

I have recently started to go on a small fitness journey. I have been trying to go to the gym to do more weight lifting. This is in addition to my cardio runs/walks and spin classes. It is extremely intimidating, especially in the packed UMass Rec Center. Taking upper and lower body strength classes has shown me exercises that now I feel more confident doing on my own in the weight rooms. I want to formulate a split for Monday to Friday at the gym this summer: four days of lifting, and one day of cardio. I also want to be able to go early in the morning, so I have time before working and will be able to enjoy the pool or beach a bit. Consistency over the summer will allow me to further my ability as well as my confidence in the gym.

Waking up earlier

I think this might be one of the bigger challenges for me this summer, as I am working at a restaurant and my shifts can go late into the night. However, I have been trying to be better about getting up and not snoozing my alarm. I rarely stay in bed past 8:30 A.M. on weekdays, and on weekends I don’t get up later than 9:30 A.M. At first, I was struggling because of how much I used to sleep, and would always need a nap by mid-afternoon. However, after staying consistent, I have been able to get up and have a productive day and not feel tired until it is time to go to bed again. I feel as though I will also be able to maximize the benefits of all of these other habits by waking up early as well. I want to be able to maximize my summer days and feel accomplished by the end of them.

Eating Healthier

Eating healthier is something that I have tried to make a conscious effort about this semester and hope to continue this summer. I don’t track calories or macros or anything like that, but I try to prioritize my protein intake and overall eat things that are not empty calories. I have tried to limit my snacking and only eat when I’m hungry. I make a conscious effort to find the right balance, but I also don’t forbid myself from having a sweet treat or a yummy dish when I go out to eat. I have become more conscious of what I am putting into my body and have expanded my palate within the dining halls. We are fortunate to have great food supplied to us daily, so when shopping and going out to eat this summer I am going to try to be mindful of these things and stay consistent with what makes my body feel good.

Expressing Gratitude

I feel like it is often easy for me to focus on what is going wrong in my life or what I don’t have, rather than what is going well and being grateful for where I am at. I have the opportunity to work on Cape Cod again this summer, and I am super excited to be able to go back and meet back up with my coworkers from last summer and also meet new people. I am living with one of my best friends and we are planning on doing so many fun things such as going to concerts, beach days, and having friends down to visit. My family is planning on visiting and I love being able to spend time with them there. I will try to take the time to appreciate what each and every day gives me, because it will go by fast and soon become just a memory. I think by doing this during fun summer days, it will be easier to implicate into even the most stressful times during the school year.

I hope that through these changes I will be able to further my wellness journey through small steps that will ultimately have a large effect on my physical and mental health. While I know some days will be tougher than others, getting into a habit of recognizing and acting on these behaviors will ultimately help me accomplish what I want to in life by being the best possible version of myself.

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Olivia Vadnais

U Mass Amherst '25

Hi everyone, my name is Olivia and I am a freshman at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. I am very excited to join HerCampus this fall! I love reading, Taylor Swift, sports (especially basketball) and hanging out with friends and family. I am a management major and hope to end up double majoring in journalism as well.