By Caroline Cioffi, LiveGirl High School Mentor
Try something new
hat is something you’ve always wanted to try during the school year but never had time? Whether it’s learning another language, learning how to cook, trying a new sport, or learning how to code, summer is the perfect time to learn something new! Start simple. Look up a tutorial on YouTube, check out a book at the library, or download an app that will help you learn. Then, set aside a little time each day. Even if it’s only 20 minutes, the more you practice your new skill the better you’ll get. By the end of the summer, you will have developed a new hobby or life skill. Who knows, maybe it’s something you want to study in school or even `turn into a career!
Volunteer at a local non-profit
One of my favorite parts of summer is all the free time. But, it’s easy to get caught up spending your days watching Netflix or mindlessly scrolling through social media. So, why not put aside some of that time to do something more meaningful? Consider volunteering at a local non profit. Not sure where to volunteer? Websites like VolunteerMatch are designed to find volunteering opportunities in your area based on what you are interested in. Again, it could be as little as an hour a week but I promise you’ll find volunteering to be just as (if not more!) rewarding as any paid job. Volunteer service and internships are also great to add to any resume, whether it be for college or for a future job.
Get involved in a political campaign
For anyone interested in politics or considering a related career, volunteering on a campaign is one of the best ways to get started. Begin by researching local government officials and their positions to find out who you might be interested in getting involved with. You can find the locations and phone numbers of local candidates’ offices online and reach out to see if there are any openings for interns or volunteers. While interns have a wide range of responsibilities, some include speaking to voters, helping with social media outreach, and facilitating campaign events. Working on a campaign is a great way to have your voice heard in politics even if you are under 18 and can’t yet vote.
Sometimes, when the school year gets busy, it’s hard to stay active. That’s why summer is the perfect time to get in shape. Make it fun! Exercising doesn’t have to be a chore. Take advantage of the nice weather and exercise outside. Maybe invite a friend or two who also want to stay in shape, that way you can motivate each other to keep up with your goals. YouTube is one of my favorite places to find new workouts. There are plenty of YouTube channels (Blogilates is my favorite!) dedicated to workouts that are fun, simple, and don’t require any equipment at all. By the end of the summer, you will be amazed by how much you have improved. Want a way to measure your improvement? Set a goal for the end of the summer. Maybe you want to be able to run three miles without stopping or do 50 push-ups? You’ll be amazed by how much you can accomplish in just two months!
Take time to relax
Sure, this one seems obvious but that doesn’t make it any less important. Let’s face it, the school year can be pretty stressful. Summer is a perfect time to take a break from that stress. There are a lot of ways to de stress this summer. Treat yourself to a spa day! Paint your nails, put on a face mask, or take a bubble bath. These are all great ways to take much-needed time to yourself. Afterwards, you will feel more calm and relaxed. You could also use a more formal method of relaxation like yoga or meditation. These practices will help you to feel more centered and free of unwanted stress. Once you have more experience, these are great tools that you can use during the school year, too.
Take a summer course
I know what you’re thinking: “I’m finally out of school, why would I want to take ANOTHER class??” Don’t worry I get it! A summer course doesn’t need to be the same type of classes you take in school, like math or history. Take a class in something that’s interesting to you! Local community colleges are a great place to look; check out colleges’ websites to see what courses they offer. You’ll find classes ranging from robotics to pottery and nutrition. There are hundreds of options out there based on your age, interests, and how much time you want to spend. This is a great way to learn more about a field you’re interested in.
Spend time with friends
During the summer, you have lots of extra time and guess what? You’re not the only one! That’s why summer is the perfect time to reconnect with friends who are probably feeling equally bored. Use summer as a chance to reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while! Or call someone you never had a chance to hang out with during the school year but really want to get to know better. Not only will you have a great time hanging out with your friends but, when the school year rolls around, you’ll be glad to have even more familiar faces in your classes.
I don’t know about you, but I can never seem to find time during the school year to organize my room. Last week, I finally had time to spend a day organizing everything from my desk to my closet and under my bed. Sure, it probably wasn’t the most fun day or one I’ll remember forever but I was so glad I did it. I found old things I didn’t even remember I had. I was even able to put aside old clothes that I don’t wear anymore and bring them to a local Goodwill for someone else to enjoy. I know that when the school year comes back around I’ll be glad to have everything organized and not be digging through cluttered piles of paper on my desk anymore.
Read a book
Even if reading isn’t your favorite, give this one a try! Choose a book that is interesting to you—something that isn’t like any of the books you’ve read in school. Maybe start with a mystery, graphic novel, or sports novel that will keep your attention. Reading is a great past time and also a great way to learn more about the world around you. Better yet, it has been proven that reading helps you to succeed academically and improve your scores on standardized tests. So, why not get started while you have the time? Look at recommended reading books online based on things you’re passionate about and make a list of books that interest you. By the end of the summer, make it your goal to have read them all.
erhaps, you didn’t reach out to potential employers before summer began or maybe, like me, you aren’t home enough to commit to a full time job, but you still want to make some extra money this summer. Don’t worry it’s still possible! Depending on your skills and interests, self employment could mean many different things. First, brainstorm ways that you might be able to help; ideas could include babysitting, doing yard work, helping with technology, tutoring, selling artwork, and more. Once you have your idea, you’ll need to set a price. Consider talking to friends and family about what they would consider a reasonable price. Now that you have your plan, you can advertise by hanging up poster in local stores and reaching out to neighbors and friends. You’ll be making money before you know it!
ABOUT STRONG MAGAZINE
This piece was originally published in STRONG, a new magazine aimed at tween and teenaged girls that seeks to break the mold. While many other publications for this age group focus on celebrities, STRONG focuses on real girls with diverse interests. While other publications focus on body image and fashion, STRONG focuses on keeping a healthy body and mind. STRONG also presents great role models - girls who have overcome adversity and thrived, and women who are breaking glass ceilings in areas previously dominated by men. Visit www.strongmagazineforgirls.com to learn more.