Photo: Courtesy of Chapman University Explore your interests this summer with ten fun and productive activities
Explore your interests this summer with ten fun and productive activities. (Courtesy of Chapman University)

For about 180 days a year, us college students are entrapped in an arduous cycle of endless studying, inadequate sleep and a montage of personal problems that exacerbate the toil of school and maintaining one’s health. Aside from the minuscule two-day weekends and occasional seasonal breaks, we are given no time to step away entirely from the burdensome stress that preoccupies our minds, which makes it no surprise that the three-to-four month long summer break is like salvation.

For many of us worn out students, summer break serves as a time to forget about any and all responsibilities and to spend the day binging on Netflix and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

However, summer provides us the opportunity to discover our interests; with nothing but time on our hands, we have the freedom to try new activities and explore the world.

Summer time is our time and here are 10 things you, a most likely burnt out college student, can do this summer to keep you proactive and inspired long after August:

    1. Start a summer reading list: It can be exciting to write down a list of interesting books as if you are mapping out destinations to travel to; like a road trip map, reading can be an adventure, opening your mind to new perspectives and stimulate your imagination with inciting stories. The benefit of keeping a list is that at the end of the summer, you can look back at the wonderful tales and far-off lands you have traveled to, all of which you had aspired to voyage to at the beginning.
    2. Get an internship: Having work experience in a career you admire can give you real-life experience and serve as the fuel for your inspiration for the subsequent school year. I would recommend making a professional email and contacting a local organization of your choice to see if they have any openings for internships. If they do, they should inform you of the materials you need to apply, such as a cover letter, resume or sample work. Also, the smaller the organization, the more likely you are to get a response, so start local.
    3. Write letters to your friends and family: It can be heartwarming to both send and receive letters of care to and from your friends from afar. Write about your experiences in the summer so far as well as the space for them to provide the same. Letters like these are nice to keep as memories and possibly rekindle lost friendships in the future.
    4. Learn how to make ice cream: Not only will you learn how to cook up something cool and sweet for your next summer gathering but you’ll also be provided with the precious experience of crafting something from scratch. Just like with painting or sculpting, your creative efforts will also be met with a reward — in this case, a creamy, delectable treat for you and your friends to enjoy. (Check out the Highlander’s top summer treats recipes here!)
    5. Redecorate your room: It’s no wonder why some people say that reorganizing your room is therapeutic; this is the room that you begin and end your day in as well as (probably) spend the most time in in the hours between. Decorating it can not only be a creatively stimulating activity but can also change the vibes of your personal space entirely. Renovate your room by adorning it with posters, plants and anything else that you want to be surrounded by every day.
    6. Buy a guitar or ukulele: Learning an instrument is like learning another language — it opens up a new avenue of expressive thought and can help you meet new people. You can buy any instrument of your choice, but guitars and ukuleles are among the most portable and versatile and are easy, yet stimulating, platforms for first-time instrumentalists to jump into playing their favorite songs.
    7. Go on a road trip with friends: Road trips can be as awe-inspiring as the movies make them out to be if they are done with people whom you feel comfortable with. Remain realistic and only embark on something that won’t leave your pockets or your interest exhausted by the last day. (Trying to find some neat places to to visit with your pals? Look no further! Here are four must-see spots that you and your friends need to road trip to in California)
    8. Volunteer at a city improvement organization: City improvement opportunities, such as garden cleanups or feeding homeless shelters, are usually long-term, meaning you’ll be hanging around the same group of people for an extended period of time. If you don’t have any friends to experience road trips with, volunteer groups lend you the opportunity to bond with people sharing the same experience and who, best of all, are striving for a good purpose.
    9. Take a self-defense class: Self-defense classes provide a useful physical activity that will not only keep you safe and active but can also enhance your confidence, as they can challenge your physical and mental capabilities. These classes provide plenty of interaction so you can probably make a few good friends here as well.
    10. Plant a flower: According to a study performed by Dr. Chris Knight from Exeter University, employees who have plants in their offices turn out to be both happier and more productive. Although the final result of planting is the visual reward, the process of maintaining it can be rewarding as well. It will give you something to look forward to every day and the growth will display the wonders of diligence and dedication right before your eyes.

Summer time is an opportunity for us to nurture curiosities and areas of fascination left unexplored while caught between so many classes and allow them to bloom into a new interest that will carry on beyond the summer time