A Summer of Reinvention

There’s something unique about the happiness one feels in the summertime–it’s unobstructed and unconstrained. Don’t get me wrong, summer does have its downsides as well, like the all-consuming worry of missing out or the deep sadness one can feel after experiencing what you think as “once in a lifetime joy.” But in order to really take advantage of summer’s offerings, I think it’s important to make a list of goals you can reasonably accomplish to make this summer one of reinvention. Here’s a few ideas to guide you:

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1. Be on your phone less – Limiting your social media usage by deleting certain apps or eliminating those apps’ screen time completely will dramatically help make this summer more carefree and fulfilling. Not having social media apps on your phone will increase your productivity because they are not easily accessible, therefore they won’t be able to distract you. Social media can take a heavy toll on one’s mental health, especially since people tend to only post the most glamorous parts of their life, so deleting these apps may help improve your mental state. If you’re interested in learning more about social media’s effect on mental health, check out this article.

2. Read more – Summer offers you so much free time and if you decide to stop using social media as much, you will have more time in between shifts, summer classes, hanging out with friends, etc. to really sit down and read. Finding the type of books that speak to you can be really exciting and offer you a whole world of enlightenment and connection with others that you may not have had.

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3. Take some classes – Sometimes, taking classes in the summer can contribute to your fear of missing out on summer fun with friends if you happen to get bogged down by schoolwork. But if you put in the work and are resilient, you will end up feeling grateful and proud of yourself for completing classes in the summer. 

4. Focus on you – I think that overall the most important thing to do this summer is to focus on yourself. Think of the mindset you wish to be in and figure out how to get there. Don’t chase after things this summer unless they are for your personal improvement. Listen to your body, pay attention to what you want to do or be and focus on that. 

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5. Get a fun, chill summer job – One thing you don’t want to do in a summer of reinvention is say “no” too much. A way to make sure you don’t have to say this is if you have the resources to say “yes.” Filling your schedule with a job and classes this summer may not sound appealing, but it would make your free time even more rewarding and enjoyable, especially if you have the means to spend your money on fun activities. Plus, your job could give you awesome work friends!

6. Learn a language – Whether you are in the process of learning a new language or have finished UT’s course requirements for your language credits, summer is a good time to keep practicing it so your new language skills don’t become rusty. With more and more vaccines being distributed, it’s possible more study abroad programs will open up in the fall, so learning a language will be extremely helpful if you plan on studying abroad!

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7. Keep a journal – I firmly believe that writing in a journal, logging your days, experiences and thoughts is a very important habit to keep up with. In general, it is very good for you, think of it as a form of self care. For me, writing helps relieve my feelings and makes me feel less chaotic as I am writing down all of my thoughts and complicated feelings onto a piece of paper, something external. Also, one day you may want to share experiences and stories with others and it would be nice to have a fresh account of it written down in your journal that you could refer back to. BookPeople has some very cute journals if you look hard enough.

8. Do things alone – It’s fun eating at a restaurant alone, dancing in your room alone, going to a park all by yourself. Don’t let your friends’ availability schedules hold you back, if you really want to go somewhere but your friend can’t come, I encourage you to go by yourself. I think doing stuff alone every now and then really helps you learn how to be more comfortable with yourself. 

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9. Pick up a new hobby – Summertime is your chance to pick up that hobby or skill you’ve always wanted to try. You could start making things out of clay, or get really into crocheting, running, climbing, painting, latte art, really anything that speaks to you. It will help occupy your newfound free time and limit your time spent decomposing in your bed watching TikToks (which is definitely fine to do sometimes).  

10. Try to go to new places – Making a summer bucket list with your closest friends will help cure summer boredom that often comes with having so much free time. In this bucket list you can make goals as big as traveling to a different state with your friends, to things as little as going to the pool everyday. Go to places you guys have never been before, maybe try finding a good crying spot where you guys can go when your summer fun turns to summer sadness. Explore the city in ways you never have before, there’s endless possibilities and exploring will help make your summer full of adventures.

Featured Image courtesy of Kara Fields