Summer Plans: Volunteer, Vacay and Self-Care

Summer Plans: Volunteer, Vacay and Self-Care

Once finals are over and summer break commences, the real challenge begins: figuring out what to do with your time. Summer break opens up opportunity for laziness, worry or absorption into a million and one different things. Summer plans may vary person to person. There are some who spend the time vacationing and regenerating energies in preparation for the next semester; those who work during the break to pay not only bills, but tuition; and others who volunteer or take on internships.

Figuring it out

Summer, in particular, can be an important time if graduate school is on your radar after graduation. Greek organizations, university clubs and sports, and communities are a great way to get connected and involved.
Apart from extracurriculars, there are often opportunities to travel abroad, as well, which is a great opportunity to gain cultural experience, which wouldn’t otherwise be accessible. For students concerned about funding a travel abroad experience; just know that valuable experiences come in many forms. Start by getting involved in your own city or town.

Where to look?

There are many local and national organizations always looking for volunteers. For example, on you can search for internship opportunities in different disciplines and cities and states. Similarly, offers volunteer opportunities based on different interests and locations. Lastly, informing yourself about the kinds of organizations, businesses, hospitals or schools in your community is a good start when trying to get involved. Becoming active in your community is worth more than just the résumé boost; it also helps you not only gain understanding of community roots, but also gain appreciation for people in the community.

Personally, I am still involved with my high school alma mater. I try to speak to the students at least once a semester and attend parent meetings that discuss student and community issues. The community surrounding my former high school is close to my heart, because it is where I spent my childhood. So, it’s especially important for me to give back not only to the school, but also to the community.

Finding the time

It may not always be possible for students to become involved as much as they’d like, due to work, family commitment, or limited availability. Showing commitment goes a long way; even if it’s a one day event once a month, consistency is a great thing to exhibit.

However, not everyone can afford this opportunity. Working during the summer may be an option, therefore, it’s important to leave an impression. If it’s seasonal or part time, try and squeeze in the occasional volunteer work. Just remember that it’s more important to show you’ve dedicated your time to something during the off-season; so be proud of the hard work you’ve put in.

Reflect and Regenerate

If you are fortunate enough to travel during the summer, make the most of the experience. Reflect on time spent away from home, make memories, take tons of pictures, and most importantly, keep an open mind when experiencing different cultures and traditions than those of which you’re accustomed. Applying customs and traditions you may pick up on your time away can become useful to everyday life. For example, many countries take a “siesta” or nap during the day, which may prove essential if you work and go to school. Also, when you learn to appreciate time spent learning new things, you gain deeper appreciation and may lead to possible career options, new ways of life, and also knowledge on different cultures.

Some people may need breaks, but it’s always important to remember that regenerating energies isn’t a bad thing. You wouldn’t be able to drive a car without gas; similarly, people with mental illnesses may need these breaks to be able to apply self-care practices. School can be draining, and in order to avoid slipping into a funk, make sure to take the time to regenerate and enjoy the sun.

Regardless of how you choose to spend the summer, make sure to gear up for the upcoming semester. Enjoy the sun, the new experiences, and take care of yourself. Summer is right around the corner, so now is the time to get into gear and make the most out of summer 2k17.


About Lesly Guzman

Current college student at NEIU in Chicago, Illinois, future psychologist that serves the world. Self proclaimed Xicana and also feminist (an oh so controversial topic in today's world). I am majoring in psychology with a minor in child advocacy studies and plan to work with minority adolescents and children. Topics of importance to me range from inner city violence (present in Chicago), the importance of funding education (or lack of in my institution's case), to issues of identity, what it means to be a first generation college student, religion and culture, along with the utter most important topic of mental health. I challenge myself in my learning, in my views, and hope I may do the same in a positive manner for those I reach. I plan to help change the world one day, even if it takes a lifetime.