Summer: What to do When You Don’t Have to do Anything

By: Haley Littleton

It’s 12 p.m. on a Thursday and, let’s be honest, you’re probably now just rolling out of bed groggily stumbling to the kitchen to scour your parents’ pantry for something to eat (breakfast? lunch? you’re not really sure). And while perhaps one long school year of finals, deadlines, papers, and never ending reading assignments deserves to be rewarded with days of sleeping in, laying on the couch watching TV, or sitting by the pool, what are you going to do with this newly acquired time?

What are you doing to do this summer when you don’t HAVE to do anything?

It’s astounding when you think about it really: three whole months to structure your time and energies towards whatever you want. Though we’d rather live in romantic illusions, all of us have to admit that this mysterious “summer” will not always last for us. Soon we’ll get real jobs out in the world that don’t grant us warm seasons of recuperation. This time is precious; how are you going to use it productively?

Summer is a good time to be lazy and there’s definitely room for sleeping in till noon and living in your swimsuit. (Enjoy you’re break!) But don’t let this time go to waste; there are plenty of productive things you can do during the summertime to grow.

Get a job or an internship in your field

Some of you may be shouting “I already have a job! I have to work like crazy all summer” and that’s great. Working during the summer is not only financially wise but good life experience. It teaches responsibility, discipline, and servanthood. But if you haven’t found a job yet and the outlook seems grim, see if you can get an internship in the field your studying. Try to shadow someone doing what you want to do; see if they will take you on to teach you about the trade. Nothing beats experience for a college student along with some new resume chops.

Acquire a new skill

Always wanted to learn how to play the drums? Want to take up kickboxing? Summer is the time to do it! Learning a new skill not only expands your mind but also makes you a much more well-rounded person. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn how to do, do it now while you have enough time to invest in learning and practicing. Going back to school with a new talent or party trick will surprise all your friends who might have only spent their breaks eating cereal and watching cartoons.

Go exploring

We all think we know our hometowns like the back of our hands but do we? Surely there is some nook or cranny of your town that you haven’t yet explored. Take the back roads, drive a route you don’t normally take. You never know what kind of hometown restaurant or awesome antique shop that you might find. If you can, explore a different state or a different country. Experiencing the world is a great experience for college students; not only do you get to explore new beautiful places but you get to learn from people who think culturally different than you.

Read outside your comfort zone

Groan. Who wants to read outside of school? You should. Read that long list of books you’ve been waiting to indulge in once you finish your dry boring textbooks. But don’t just stop there. Read something you never would have picked to read before (perhaps an old classic novel or groundbreaking book about science/business/economics). While it may sound boring, reading outside your comfort zone will expand your understanding of the world and your understanding of your specific area of study.

Volunteer

Many college students opt to go on mission trips during the summer to share the love of Christ and humbly work for those in need. If you can go, jump at the opportunity. But if you can’t, due to summer job or funds, don’t forget about the importance of local missions! Volunteering at rescue centers, soup kitchens, or safe houses is a great opportunity to minister to your own hometown. People are hurting locally where you live; spend your summer giving your life away to those around you.

Get involved in community

Finally, perhaps one of the best things you could do with your summer is to get involved in a local church community. Maybe it is your friends, maybe it’s your local college group, whatever it is, plug in somewhere. The most growth spiritually is going to happen this summer when you’re doing life with other believers. There are tons of different things you can do this summer but don’t miss out on investing relationally with the ones you love around you. Spend your summer growing in your walk with people who challenge you, pray for you, and carry your burdens.

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