By: Kelly Cosgrove, Gamma Tau/Tulsa, Theta Foundation scholarship recipient
As the spring semester comes to an end, we all have one thing on our minds: summer break! Classes are over and it’s the perfect time to catch up on some much needed sleep. However, summer break is a valuable gift of time and opportunity for college students, so it’s important to make the most out of the few you will have. Here are four ways to help you maximize your summer break:
1. Learn Something New
As students, we constantly acquire new information to strengthen our minds. In order to keep our minds functioning at a consistently high level, we must continue exercising our brains over the summer! Learning new things can also help you feel a sense of purpose and stay motivated. Taking classes can be a great option for summer learning, but there’s more than one way to learn! For example, you can gain hands-on experience through an internship. Or, you can take a fun course related to your hobbies such as photography. If structured classes aren’t for you, don’t be afraid to teach yourself something new, like creative writing.
Summer break is the perfect time to plan trips. In fact, there may never be another time in your life where you have as much freedom and flexibility to travel. Again, this is something that you can easily tailor to fit your lifestyle. If you have a busy schedule, take a day or weekend trip to explore a nearby town. You could even meet up with a Theta sister you’ve been missing! Summer is also a wonderful time to study abroad, which teaches you practical life skills and enhances your worldview. It’s also great to take a vacation to relax with friends or family. No matter what traveling may look like for you this summer, a change of scenery and sense of adventure is always good idea.
3. Give Back
One of the best things you can do with your summer break is to serve your community. Websites like VolunteerMatch.org are great resources to discover opportunities to give back. If you’re more independent, plan a fundraiser or clothing or food drive to support a cause close to your heart. If you’d like something more structured, hold a volunteer internship position at a local non-profit organization. If you have a busier schedule, donate your gently used clothing or pick up an occasional shift at your local food bank. Find a way to give back that you enjoy, and you will not only improve the lives of others, but also your own.
4. Discover Yourself
College can allow little time for self-reflection. We can fall out of touch with ourselves, which can have a negative impact on our mental health. Therefore, use this summer to spend time with yourself! Reflect on your goals and dreams, your relationships, and what makes you happy. Practicing mindfulness can help you focus your attention on your internal desires and will provide you with the tools to continue this reflection during the school year. Apps such as Headspace are great for learning mindfulness.
Another way to discover yourself is to do something that surprises you. For me, this has included training for a half marathon and paragliding off the cliffs of San Diego. Learn what this looks like for you! If you spend time discovering yourself this summer, you will return to school with a positive outlook and confidence in yourself.
I hope this list has inspired you to make this summer break the best it can be. There are so many ways to do this, and it looks different for everyone. Be a leading woman and determine how you can maximize your summer break this year!
Kelly Cosgrove, Gamma Tau/Tulsa, is a senior at the University of Tulsa pursuing a degree in Psychology (Pre-Med) with minors in Biology, Chemistry, and Spanish. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Gamma Tau Chapter. Kelly received the Alice Allen Brant Founders Memorial Scholarship from Theta Foundation this year.
This blog post is part of the Scholar Blogger series, showcasing four of Theta’s leading women who are sharing their experiences, insight, and advice on topics relevant to all students. Learn more about the Scholar Blogger series and this year’s bloggers here.