Three Ways to Find Structure in an Unstructured Summer
With the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, it’s likely that some of your summer plans have been cancelled or postponed, leaving you with a stretch of unstructured time over the next few months. Maybe you’re looking forward to the ambiguity of the summer as the perfect time to accomplish your goals, or maybe all of this unstructured time brings up a feeling of uneasiness. Either way, follow our tips below to give your summer some meaning, even if it’s from the shelter of your own home!
1. Have a plan
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: planning is key to making the most of your time. Plans can come in different forms, but start by setting aside an afternoon to list your goals for the summer. You can categorize your goals into professional, personal, financial, and social. For example, a personal goal might include the desire to hike each week, while your goal to call a friend every day or week could qualify as social. Once you’ve listed your goals, write down the steps you can take to accomplish those goals. If you’re hoping to learn a new language this summer, consider signing up for an online language class or hiring a language tutor. From there, you can start to build a schedule based on the steps that you need to take each day. Prioritize your goals in your schedule, but don’t forget to schedule in time for physical activity, meals, and hobbies. Your schedule will probably evolve throughout the summer, so it might be a good idea to reevaluate your goals every few weeks and adjust your schedule accordingly.
2. Make time for fun and uncertainty
While we’re huge proponents of schedules and routines over here at Class Tracker, we also appreciate some spontaneity and fun. After all, that’s what summer is for! Leave room in your summer plans for flexibility, especially over the weekends. Maybe you’ll decide to hop in the car for a road trip or to explore somewhere new! Some activities, like taking trips, have become challenging during COVID-19, but there are still ways to have fun this summer. You could go hiking, pick up a new hobby, plan hang-outs with friends from six feet apart, pick up food from restaurants, and more. Try to reframe your thinking about the summer to focus on the positives. If you can’t hang out with friends in-person, concentrate on developing your independence this summer. If you can’t go to the movies, display a backyard DIY movie screen. If you can’t eat at your favorite restaurant, try recreating some meals at home. While COVID-19 is definitely tough for everyone, you can use this time to explore new hobbies and activities.
3. Build stable relationships with loved ones
Due to COVID-19, many college students were forced to return home from their campuses in March. Living at home again, after months or years of college life, can be challenging. Be sure to foster solid relationships with your family members and friends while you’re home. For some, this summer could be the last extended period living at home. Use this time effectively by cherishing the comfort and ease that comes with home life. Take advantage of home-cooked meals, long showers, and heart-to-hearts with parents. Ask your family members questions about themselves. Eat dinner as a family. Go for walks together. While everyone’s home situation is different, and familial relationships can be complicated, you can use your summer to craft healthy relationships with family members that will continue long after COVID-19.
Going from the structure of college to an entire summer of unstructured time seems a little daunting! But with the right schedule and attitude, you can create a meaningful summer for yourself. In fact, with COVID-19 cancelling many plans, it’s the perfect time to do those things that you have always wanted to do, from learning a new language to gardening to starting a podcast. Don’t forget to make a little time for fun and you’re on your way to an enjoyable summer.