5 Productive Things to Do This Summer

Student Blogger - Jordan

“I’m just one college student trying to help others survive, thrive, and make the most of their college experience.”

Student Blogger — Jordan G.
Jordan is a senior at IWU majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Intercultural Studies.

You’ve (barely) survived all your final projects and exams and at last, it is here: summer – the time you’ve been waiting for since the first syllabus landed on your desk this semester. Now what? It can be strange going from the busyness of a full semester into suddenly having no responsibilities – like you’re going on a really fast train that suddenly comes to a halt. Of course, it’s fun for the first week or two (or three…) to stay up late watching Netflix and sleep in the next morning, but if you’re like me, this lack of productivity starts to nag at you. Eventually I feel like I have to do something or I’m going to go crazy, and I know I would be disappointed in myself if I looked back on the whole summer and realized I let it all pass by without doing much of anything. Because your schedule is so flexible, summer can actually be one of the most productive times where you can set lots of goals and have no real excuse not to reach them. So on that note, here’s my suggestions of things you can do this summer to make it a good (and productive) one!

Productive Summer

1. Listen to Podcasts

On a 28-hour road trip with some friends to Arizona, an incredible discovery was made: the beauty of podcasts. Podcasts are awesome because you can listen to them while doing pretty much anything. They can be funny, informative, or just entertaining and are a great way to make boring tasks more enjoyable. For example, I’m working at my school this summer and commuting from home. Rather than just listening to music (which gets boring after awhile), I download podcasts – they keep my mind engaged and just seem to make the drive go by more quickly. If you’re looking for awesome, free podcasts, I recommend Serial, This American Life, and the TED Radio Hour.

2. Take an Online Class

I know in the midst of the semester, the last thing you want to do is a sign up for more schoolwork during your summer break BUT, summer classes are a great way to keep exercising your brain, knock some credits out of the way, and lessen your workload for upcoming semesters! Another bonus is that online classes are usually less expensive than classes on campus. Whether it’s a simple gen. ed. class you’ve been putting off or a 400-level that requires all your attention, you’ll thank yourself later for making good use of your time.

3. Learn about Something You’re Interested In

Summer is also a great time to learn about things that may have nothing to do with what you’re studying at school! If there’s something you’ve always found fascinating, take some time and find a documentary to watch or rent some books from the library on the subject. It may not seem very appealing at first, but it’s a good way to develop a love for learning that’s not dependent on a grade, but purely for your own enjoyment and growth.

4. Start Running/Exercising

When you’re trying to balance academics and your social life, health and exercise can quickly take the backburner. But not this summer! Summer is a great time to pick up a new healthy hobby like running, yoga, pilates, cycling, etc. These exercises will also encourage you to get outside and enjoy the summer weather while it lasts. Tip – I like to listen to podcasts (as mentioned above) when running/working out because it redirects my attention and keeps my mind busy. And hey, if you find an exercise you love enough, maybe you’ll even be motivated to carry it on into the school year!

5. Get a Job/Internship

This is probably the most productive suggestion, but also the one no one wants to hear. However, once you get into college and start thinking about the future, your bills, and your resume, getting a job becomes pretty important. While you have limited availability during the school year, the summer time is perfect for starting a full-time internship or job! The more experience you can have before you graduate the better, even if it is just at a store/restaurant and not necessarily in your dream occupation. I’m aware that getting a job isn’t the most “fun” option for the summertime, but it is a long-term investment into your future that you’ll be glad you made.

While that certainly wasn’t an extensive list, hopefully it gave you some good ideas to think about! Whatever you decide to do this summer – volunteering, starting a blog, going on a roadtrip, or any of the things listed above – make the most of the time and opportunities you have. It’ll be time to go back to school before you know it!

Find more of Jordan’s writings here.


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