How to make the best of your summer

Finals just ended, and you’re ready to kick back, relax, and enjoy the summer sun until school starts again this August. No textbooks to read, no essays to write, no thinking for three whole months. After all, you’ve put in a bunch of hard work this spring, you deserve a break, right?

Well, don’t let that break go on too long or you just might find yourself wondering where the summer went with nothing to show of the last three months except a tan or a few more levels on Candy Crush(TM). And you’ll come back to WKU only to find you’ve lost all of those writing and study skills you learned last semester. But, summer doesn’t have to one long boring cram session either, and the WKU Writing Center has some tips on making this summer a productive and fun one!

1. Learn a New Skill: Ever wanted to learn how to juggle? Or do card tricks? What about rollerblading or tightrope walking? Well, you have three months to do just that. Pick a new skill, even a silly one, and dedicate the summer to it. By September, you’ll be well on your way to being a master in wood carving, BMX biking, or any one of dozens of other hobbies. Summer is a time to expand your horizons, and learning a new skill offers you the chance to meet new people and gain new experiences. Your hobby doesn’t even necessarily have to be silly. Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a short story or a poem. Dedicate your summer to writing the next Great American Novel before NaNoWriMo comes around this November.

Don’t know what you want to learn? Check out Discover a Hobby for some suggestions! And then let us know on the WKU Writing Center Facebook.

2. Keep a Journal or Blog: Keeping a diary or an online blog about your summer reading list, your favorite recipes, or your internship experiences is a great way to boost your writing skills and to find new inspiration for scholarship essays. Join Tumblr or Blogspot and connect with other people who share your passion for stamp collection, painting your nails ridiculously bright colors, or finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. After all, as Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” So, get out there and write!

3. Read, Read, Read: Read the newspaper, read a magazine, or read the new Dan Brown novel. Basically, just read. Reading, especially reading for pleasure, is one of the best ways to improve your vocabulary and grammar knowledge, to analyze texts (a skill you will definitely need in your English 300 class), and to impact your own writing. And summer offers you time to do just that without the worry of classes over your head. Even if you decided years ago that you just hate reading, try picking up a novel again and see if reading it without having to worry about getting tested over the plot or the theme changes your mind.

Good Reads is a great place to start a summer reading list!

4.  Get Some Experience: After all, you can’t write if you don’t have anything to write about.  Getting a part-time job might not sound like the most fun summer, but you’ll certainly find something to write about by the time that summer’s over. And the extra money is definitely worth it. Or, if you have a little money saved up, why not travel this summer? Traveling is one of the best ways to get out of your comfort zone and find out something new about yourself. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to travel, either, because a lot of transit companies offer discounts to college students. And remember that traveling doesn’t always have to mean overseas. Why not take a road trip to somewhere you’ve never been right inside your own state?

Above all, do something with your summer break and come back to WKU in the fall ready to start the semester grind all over again. Make sure to share your summer plans with us here or at the WKU Writing Center Facebook. For those of you who have already dedicated your time to summer classes, the Writing Center is currently open in Cravens Library on the 4th floor. Check out our hours at the top of the blog!

Happy Writing,

This post was originally published on May 15, 2013.

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