by Chloe Jordan | tech editor
Summer is on its way. You know what that means: unbearable Texas heat, farmer’s tans, traveling, sleeping all day, and scrolling through TikTok for hours on end. There is a way to prevent the boredom and wave of unproductivity. Here’s a list of ten things you can do over the summer to stay organized and productive.
1. Prepare for next school year
An easy way to cure the monotony of the cycle of the same activities for three months is to do what you can to prepare for next school year. Instead of fixating on what you can’t do, there’s always the option of seemingly dreadful summer reading and doing Khan Academy courses over the classes you will take next year. Even the ASL teacher, Brett Koch, is offering an optional summer Google Classroom for his students to hone their ASL skills and practice vocabulary before taking more advanced courses. Summer school is offered every year, and those who prefer smaller online lessons can contemplate the variety of courses available through Khan Academy. For more information about Khan Academy online courses, go to https://www.khanacademy.org/.
I’m sure your parents would appreciate some help organizing the garage, repainting that one room they’ve waited to paint, or revamping an old piece of furniture. Hobby lobby, IKEA, Office Depot, and Home Depot are great places to start for improving your home. You could plant a family garden with an eco-friendly compost pile, sort and file important documents, or go through old movies and electronics you don’t use anymore. Next time you are staring at your ceiling, be sure to ask your parents and siblings if they need help around the house! For some home project inspiration, visit https://www.homedepot.com/c/diy_projects_and_ideas.
3. Organizing and room makeovers
Now is the perfect time to transform your room into the dream indie, gamer, or retro room of your choice. Many students have taken to picture collages on their walls, clay decorations, and repainting their rooms to their liking. Preference in lighting has also changed, including but not limited to sun lamps, fairy lights, and classic led lights. For example, you can also add in new furniture and reorganize the closet you shoved all your items into and decided to call your room clean. You can add in plants or records on your wall to spice things up a bit. For aesthetic room ideas, go to https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/decorating-ideas/g770/decor-ideas-master-bedroom/?slide=1.
4. Start college essays and college research
Expect many colleges to email you, starting as early as your sophomore year. Before you get busy with school and extracurriculars, summer is the perfect time to explore colleges of your interest. You can begin scheduling and attending tours, and browsing through courses offered. Another good option is beginning to write your college admission essays and begin the application process. Beginning to fill out the FAFSA form is also highly encouraged. To find which college or university suits you, visit https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/right-school?int=top_nav_Finding_the_Right_School.
5. Learn to drive
If you’re approaching the symbolic age of sixteen, you are able to begin learning how to drive. There are many great, accessible online programs available to help you begin driver’s ed. Aceable is an affordable and easy option for students looking to get their permit quickly. The driver’s ed learning course and quizzes are comprehensible and easy to finish. Students are able to purchase the program and receive a parent-taught packet once the permit is obtained. Students who prefer an in-person program can refer to the official NEISD driver’s education community course. For more information on driver’s ed, go to https://communityed.neisd.net/comedweb/root/CourseDetails.aspx?enc=Hc1vcApBeXGR+4NbQtxnfYQ1C1zA955tQR6N1V2VJHY= or https://www.aceable.com/drivers-ed/texas/.
Applying for a job is a sensible option for spending your summer hours. Not only does it prepare you for future jobs by teaching you how to handle coworkers and a work environment, but it also allows you to make some money. You can use that money to buy a car for yourself or save up for college or even go for daily coffee runs. Typical teenager jobs include babysitting, fast food, or retail. Any job is beneficial for students as it teaches us balance, communication, dedication, and responsibility. For teen job ideas, visit https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/best-jobs-for-teens.
A trip to the library is the perfect boredom-buster for the summer. While reading may seem like more of a chore than hobby, diving into a good book can consume time that may have been spent on a phone or TV. Books have the power to make you question things you haven’t before and find ways to improve yourself. Books can connect you to other people’s experiences and have empathy. Books can enlighten you and give you a sense of euphoria. Summer reading lurks around the corner, so a head start on reading in general can prepare you for less enjoyable books. To find a good summer book, go to https://www.overdrive.com/ or https://www.mysapl.org/Visit/Locations/Encino-Library.
8. Get closer to your family, take time to really know and understand your friends
If you have been putting off visiting your relatives or family game night, summer is excellent for getting to know your family better. You can get time to really discuss their interests or play cards or have a fun get together. Your immediate family will appreciate getting to see you more often and hang out more. Outside of family, taking time to really understand your friends is important. Let them know they play a significant role in your life by reminding them and hanging out with them or calling them. Classic hangout ideas include going to the movies, mini golf, or roller skating. For family activities, visit https://www.chicagoparent.com/things-to-do/at-home/at-home-activities-tweens-and-teens/.
Some school extracurriculars and organizations require volunteer hours. Plus, volunteer hours look good on a resume. Summer is a great time of year to rack up some volunteer hours. Animal shelters, such as the ADL and Humane Society, could always use people to walk the dogs and clean the kennels. The San Antonio Food Bank and Meals on Wheels are also great volunteer options. To find the perfect volunteer work for you, go to https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/orgs.
10. Improve yourself
One of the best ways to stay productive over the summer is to work on improving yourself. At the end of the day, you only have you. There is no “right” way to improve yourself, but here are some ideas to get you started. You can work on affirmations for your self-esteem. You can exercise and release stress. You can find new hobbies, such as playing a new instrument, finding a new form of art or self expression, or even gardening or cooking. You can unlearn harmful ideas of perfection and unfollow accounts on social media that upset you. You can change your style up, get in a relationship, or explore your creativity as a person. For ideas to improve yourself, visit https://www.livewellwithsharonmartin.com/20-reminders-to-build-self-esteem/ or https://www.oberlo.com/blog/how-to-improve-yourself.