We’ve all been there: you’re reaching up to finally tear that June page off of your calendar when you have a horrifying realization—it’s already the last day of July. Hold up…WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO?!
There’s nothing worse than going back to school without an answer to that classic first-day icebreaker: “So, what’d you do over the summer?” But if the past two months have flown by in a blurry haze of Orange Is the New Black, don’t panic—it’s not too late to have an awesome summer!
To help you out, we’ve put together a quick list of nine things you can start doing right now to make sure you end your summer on an inspired note.
1. Pick one productive thing to do every day (that’s not just binge-watching Netflix).
Want to learn something new? There’s power in repetition, so commit to being productive or creative for a designated portion of each day. This doesn’t mean you can’t still loaf around watching daytime court dramas and looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway. But if you do that and nothing else, your sense of purpose and accomplishment will start to slip away. Idle hands lead to restless boredom, so try to throw yourself into learning a new skill or even just a new recipe.
2. Build up your brand.
Didn’t get that summer marketing internship? Use your remaining free time to take self-paced online classes on sites like Lynda or CodeAcademy; they’ll help you hack skills that will make you a stronger candidate for next time. You can even apply your lessons to the real world by creating a mock campaign, marketing plan, or series of ads for the brand you love. Put your new portfolio up on a public blog, and you just might catch the eye of an industry player who’s willing to give you a shot.
3. Take a road trip.
Even a quick, weekend-long road trip can jumpstart your life in ways you never expected. It’s fun, and it’s sure to shake up your perspective, at least in some small way. Plus, it will give you great content for your Instagram account, guaranteed to rack up those “jealousy likes” from your friends stuck doing data entry in a windowless cubicle. If you need more road trip inspiration, check out our Pinterest boards!
4. Job shadow.
Use the three or four weeks you have left to gain some behind-the-scenes experience in an industry that’s interesting to you. How, you ask? Get online, find someone in the area who’s doing what you want to do, and then just pick up the phone! That may sound scary, but you’ll be surprised at how many people will jump at the chance to help you out, we guarantee it.
5. Read books/articles/blogs centered on what you’re interested in.
Just because school’s out doesn’t mean you should refrain from interacting with all things literary…and listen, we’re using the term “literary” loosely here. Reading tweets from a leader you admire still counts! Just cram your head full of knowledge so that later on down the road, when you’re networking with some big-shot in the industry you’re obsessed with, you can knock their socks off with your backlog of info.
6. Learn how to change a tire.
This is a short activity, so it definitely won’t take up the rest of your summer. But it’s a useful life skill that we can almost guarantee will come in handy someday! Already know how to change a tire? Learn how to perform CPR, how to swim, how to sew on a button…you get the idea.
7. Explore your own town/city.
You know that museum that you’ve always been meaning to visit? That park you’ve never walked through? Now you have the time! Get your butt in gear and get out there. Even if it’s something as small as visiting a newly opened restaurant, this is a super simple way to add some adventure to your routine.
8. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.
This will give you the extra space you need to delve into your interests. Use this time for self-reflection. As Jennifer Orgolini, Sustainability Director for New Belgium Brewery, once told us, “Times of stress are necessary for growth, but you also need time for recovery and ease, because that’s when you integrate your gains.”
9. Read Roadmap.
It’ll help you figure out what you want to do with your life. Plus, it has even more helpful tips on what you should do with the rest of your summer! Through action-oriented exercises, we’ll guide you in cultivating the skills, experiences, and grit needed to stop wavering—and start actually making money doing what you love.