It's that time of year again. You know, that time when you can almost smell the Pumpkin Spice lattes from Starbucks brewing and you can almost hear the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet. You can start to feel the wind picking up pace and the temperature dropping. But wait... weren't you just spending your weekend dipping your feet in the ocean and bathing in the warm rays of the sun? The reality of the summer is that there is always an end to it. And you have the power within yourself to finish it strongly.
I get it. The summer should be a time to relax and reflect and stretch out and breathe and sleep. Maybe even eat a little more than usual. But there comes a point that reality hits like a rock in the water. And not in the gentle way like how a skipped stone gracefully skims the surface of a lake. Think of it more like a boulder falling off the edge of a waterfall, descending at rocketing speeds to create a massive tsunami of water when it reaches the bottom. August is the perfect time to avoid that crash, as you need all of the time you can get to make your summer productive and worth it.
As I approach my senior year of high school, I can attest to the fact that pre-school jitters are normal. I've realized that I don't have that much more time left to figure out what I want to do with my life and where I want to end up -- my college applications are due in less than four months. FOUR MONTHS? Wasn't it January literally two seconds ago? Where has the time gone?
I'm writing this as I'm staring at the calendar on my wall. Though I don't want summer to end (and by summer I mean that time when I "should be productive" but have "been distracted" by the call of the beach), there is so much that has to be done and so little time to do it. Luckily, the things I have to do are items that I want to check off of my mental list, such as blogging and writing resumes and revising Common Application essays and visiting colleges and reading the summer books for AP English and working at the town hall and even making a short film here or there. I don't want to succumb to the blues that is the realization of the end of summer. Instead, I want to start using my time wisely and getting things done. Whoa, what a concept when you're at a time when seconds seem slower but somehow two months goes by in the blink of an eye.
And now here's where I help YOU help YOURSELF. If you are lucky, you have a little less than a month to still make this the greatest summer ever. I can list activities for you to do, but I would much rather help you understand what, exactly, you feel is worth your time. The first step is soul-searching. Take a minute, an hour, a day, the month, to figure out what you love and why you love it. Now, this isn't an easy task. It took me a while to understand that I love creativity, in all forms possible, and the reason for that is I find satisfaction in being busy. You may find it useful to write things down -- open to the last page of a book you haven't read and try to come up with a story that could go before it. This may seem silly and not very useful, but believe me. Getting those "creative juices" flowing is the first step to becoming the Mighty Conqueror on The Quest to Defeat the Summer's End Blues.
Next, you want to get your summer work done NOW. Let's face it -- you told yourself that you would save the summer reading books for English until the week before school starts because you "wouldn't remember what happened by the first day because you read them in July." Well, a month and a half has gone by and, as a hardworking, intelligent student, I'm sure your mind is pretty keen on remembering key characters and plot points, or math fact recall and science experiments. Get the work done so that you don't have to worry about it the night before the first day. Again, make lists of the tasks that need to be completed and check them off as the assignments go into your backpack. You can even reward yourself with an hour or two of Facebook time if you finish a task early. It is still the summer and you are still allowed to have fun.
And that brings me to my last point. This last month should be chock-full-of experiences -- fun and maybe, in your opinion, not so fun. It's tough to find internships or volunteer opportunities at the end of the summer, but they are out there if you look! Try going to some local businesses and seeing if you can apprentice an employee. I did that this summer at the borough hall in my town and shadowed people in the communications department. I was able to create logos, design website layouts, and develop e-blasts for all borough residents to see. Though tedious at times, the experience was wonderful. I earned volunteer hours for doing activities I loved -- creating interesting and intelligent methods of communication. Go to a drive-in movie if there is one in your area. Gather some friends and go to a charity event run by the local college. Even inquire about a job at your town hall. Blog for HuffPost Teen -- anything that makes you happy or teaches you something new.
If you're a rising senior like I am, it is important to utilize your summers to the best of your ability. Something you do in this final month may make for a great admissions essay -- you never know until you try! Yes, there is less than a month left, and yes, that may not seem to be enough time to do all you wanted and more. But your attitude and the experiences you choose to fill that time are essential to easing in the new school year. Soon enough, you'll be on your way to wearing jackets and sweaters and Halloween costumes and hats, so use this August wisely to shake away summer's end blues!