Make Summer Count: 7 Tips to Maximize Your Summer Experiences

By Chris Collins

Congratulations to all the recent grads, YOU MADE IT!! There are some big changes coming up for you next semester. So the team here at Chris C Speaks came up with 7 tips to help you #makesummercount so you will be ready for your next step! The first step is realizing that #leadershipisaverb so that means what you do (the actions you take) this summer will help to prepare for your next step after high school, whether it’s high school, college, entering the workforce, starting a business, or something altogether different. You may not know it yet, but how you spend your summer will either set you up to run the next stage of life or get run off it!

1 – Read a book for growth AND for fun – yes that means you have to read two books!!

I used to only read books for fun; stuff I was interested in or something that was about to be turned in to movie. Then I went on a kick where I only read a book that was going to increase my net worth. SMH there is power in balance. Now I read for both growth and pleasure. The point is to keep reading and learning. You can learn just as much from a post-apocalyptic read as you can a self-help book. #readersareearners Just know that the more you get used to reading, the better prepared you will be for those college courses next semester, learning company policies, or starting a business. Full Disclosure: Leviathan and The Elements of Style (required reading on a lot of college campuses) or corporate disclosures might still be a tough read.

2 – Prioritize Service

I know it’s the summer any you want to go to kick back and chill, I feel you fam! But the summer is not about just relaxing, it’s about making this summer count! What better way to make your time count than to prioritize service?! Do something for someone that can’t do for themselves. Connect with something bigger than yourself. It allows you put positive energy into the atmosphere, make a positive impact on someone’s life, and realize how blessed you are. It also allows you to put your time where your heart is all while growing/building your network. It is highly likely that the folks you meet when you volunteer and do community service surrounding things you are interested in will share similar interest as you, so you get to be around like minded folks with a passion for helping others. Those are some of the best folks to know. I am firm believer that your net worth is tied directly to your network.

3 – Practice a Real World Skill You Hate

I hate washing clothes, especially white clothes!! I’d rather buy new white tees and undershirts than wash them. Even though I hate washing clothes, I know HOW to wash them! I will never forget my first year as an RA and a student turned all their clothes tie-dye because they put bleach in their color clothes load 🤯 🤦🏾! DON’T BE THAT STUDENT, 😂 (or the student that nearly started a fire popping popcorn in the microwave. They set the timer for 20 minutes….on purpose, cause they thought it “seemed like a good number”. )Take this summer as an opportunity to practice a real world skill that you hate doing or are unfamiliar with, it might be useful in your next phase. Things like washing clothes, cooking, balancing your bank account, paying a bill, etc. You will have plenty of new experiences once you start adulting, but core life skills shouldn’t be one of them.

4 – Write a letter!

I got a letter in the mail from my boy since summer before 3rd grade and it bought me to tears! We live in such a digital world full of likes, DM’,s and emails; getting an actual handwritten letter in the mail is such a rare occurrence and that is what makes it special! This is an intentional act that is mad thoughtful. When it happened to me, it motivated me to pay it forward and write a letter to a few folks that I hadn’t chopped it up with in a minute. While I don’t expect to become pen pals, the effects of getting a handwritten note in the mail cannot be overstated. Remember the feeling you get when you receive a note and imagine it amplified when you send one to your parents or teacher or mentor.

5 – Take a road trip

Get in the car and drive somewhere you have never been!! I don’t care if it’s just to the other side of town! Do something different. See something different. Expose yourself to something new and exciting. Make a plan, take a friend, just make it happen. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the new place, find a favorite thing. Start getting your mind used to seeing and processing new places. There is something exciting about experiencing a place for the first time getting to learn about a new thing, but even more so is the journey. The conversations, funny experiences, getting lost, arguing over the playlist 😂! It will be a valuable exercise as you start your next journey.

6 – Find a new place to eat

Treat yourself to a new restaurant. Try a different type of cuisine or that new hot place everyone is buzzing about. Stretch your taste buds!! On a recent trip I had a student suggest a new ice cream spot. When I got there the flavors were crazy! I never thought I’d like rosemary, honey, and goat milk ice cream but I did!! Now I tell everybody that will listen about it! Its sounds silly but I gained some confidence by eating that ice cream. It helped me open up to new culinary experiences which led to cultural experiences which ultimately led to my growth and development.

7 – Find your Big Bad Wolf

Being independent is a big deal, so It’s ok to be nervous or even anxious about this next step you are taking. Don’t be ashamed or feel bad for having concerns. That just means this step is important to you. But I want you to ask yourself a question, WHY? What is it about the next step that has you shook? Is it the money, the books, the people, being away from home, etc. whatever it is, put a name to it!! Call that thing out so you can game plan on how to address it. Once you figure out what is causing the nerves, you can address it. Once the three pigs realized how the wolf was beating them they adjusted. That doesn’t mean you will never be nervous again, but conquering your fears is sort of like lifting weights…. The more you do it the easier it gets next time. And eventually you can lift heavier loads.

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