As the Spring 2020 semester ended (congrats to the class of 2020!!), a lot of students (and non-students as well) found themselves in a predicament that no one could have expected. Summer internships were cancelled, full-time job offers were taken away, and the summer everyone thought we were going to have quickly turned into something entirely different. It’s a challenging time right now filled with many “unknowns,” but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t have a fun summer. In fact, right now is the perfect time to sit back and really think about what you want to do, especially if you were on the receiving end of an internship/job cancellation. For those of you who still have an internship/job that is now remote, take a look at my colleague’s blog about working virtually (https://careerservices.upenn.edu/blog/2020/05/21/going-virtual-again/).
In the meantime, while you’re trying to figure out what you want to do/focus on this summer, here’s a list of ideas/activities to help invigorate you (or not!) and help make this summer a smooth one:
- Read a book, or 10! During the semester, your life can be pretty busy with homework, studying, projects, club activities, etc., and maybe you never really had time to enjoy a good book. Now is the perfect time to pick up that book that’s been sitting on your shelf collecting dust and to dive in!
- Home workouts. Again, this is a suggestion, so if when you see the words “home workout” and you roll your eyes or would rather watch water boil, I get it – feel free to skip right over this one. For those of you looking to keep up with your workouts now that gyms are closed, YouTube has some of the best home workout tutorials. You can find objects around the house that can be substituted as free weights. Additionally, now that the weather is starting to get warmer, go outside for a run, and don’t forget your mask!! Speaking from firsthand experience, running outside with a mask isn’t always the most comfortable, as running requires breathing, and masks don’t always have the best ventilation. Do what you can, but only if you want!
- Learn something new. Looking to brush up on Python? Or do you want to learn a new technical skill? Maybe you want to learn how to do that TikTok dance you see posted everywhere because honestly, why not? Take some time to do it! For skills, check out LinkedIn Learning Courses. For TikToks, download the app and pick your favorite dance. Whatever you decide to do, it will be great – this is your time and no one else’s.
- Catch up on all those movies you’ve been wanting to watch. Like reading, movies that we want to watch, whether they’re brand new or from the 90s, can pile up, and sometimes it seems like there’s never enough time to grab some popcorn and enjoy. Well – now’s the time! I was able to watch Frozen 2 and Tommy Boy. Yes, two very different types of movies. Also Netflix. I’ve watched/am watching almost too much Netflix.
- Schedule Zoom hangouts. Or DON’T. Sitting in front of a screen all day for work/school can really take a toll on your eyes/brain/overall health. However, if you’re not staring at a screen all day, and miss your friends/family/lovers, pick a night for a quick catch up. In the beginning of quarantine, it felt like that’s all we were doing, then it calmed down a bit. If you miss seeing the faces of the people that mean the most to you, send them a Zoom link!
- Explore your major and the types of jobs you can do with it (or the types of jobs YOU want in general). Not sure what you really want to do with the rest of your life? Start exploring! Reach out to alumni and pick their brains, do some Googling, talking to your professors/Career Services. Take some time to really look at what it is you want to do and what skills you already have/will need to gain in order to get that job.
- Listen to music. Dance in your bedroom. Sing out loud. Music is one of my favorite forms of therapy. I’m a runner, and listening to my music motivates and encourages me. Not sure what’s new? Check out Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist (like the title says, Spotify highlights new music…every…Friday). Also, Lady Gaga’s new album comes out tomorrow (Friday, May 29, 2020). Now I know what I’ll be listening to during summer 2020/the rest of my life. #chromatica
- Yes, drink water! I know it looks odd to have this on a list of “activities,” however, it’s important to remember to drink water, especially if you’re adapting to a new routine being at home. And it’s about to be summer. So, drink water, please.
- Talk with your roommate(s) about space and dealing with being together 24/7. You could be living with a random person, your best friend, your partner, your family – whoever. It’s important to recognize that you will be spending a significant amount of time with that person, and if you live in a smaller space, it could be difficult at times. Have a conversation with your housemate(s) about maintaining the cleaning and what will work for each of you with regard to alone time, hanging out, etc.
- Don’t compare yourself to what you see others posting on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Stop watching people’s stories and thinking “I need to do that/I should be doing that/why don’t I have that/I need to order that, etc.” You don’t need to do ANY of that. Do what YOU want. It’s so easy (and we’re all guilty of it!) to look at someone’s Instagram and question why we aren’t doing that or don’t have the same things. Who cares? Just do you and what makes you happy. I know, easier said than done, but really, think about it, is forcing yourself to do something that you don’t even want to do going to bring you that happiness? Figure out the things that make you happy, not the things that make other people happy. This is your time – do what you want to do.
Associate Director, Career Services (SEAS)