During the academic year, your focus is so student-centered that it can be tough to focus on what you want to learn, too. Yet, summertime can be another story. You’ll be busy with other tasks, for sure, yet it’s worth carving out time to focus on your own enrichment as well. Perhaps it’s time to start putting together your personal “summer curriculum.”
This can be a list of things you want to learn, passions to pursue, books to read and staff development options to prepare. Ready? Here are some ways to get started…
Identify Your Cause. What is a cause that interests you, that you know something about and that you’d like to become better informed on? Maybe it’s a global issue like the lack of potable drinking water in many countries. Or maybe it’s something more local, like working with the cooperative extension on a youth community garden. Do some research and make an inquiry. Dip your toe in to see how you might get involved.
Pursue a Passion. We all have something that we love to do but that we don’t devote enough time to. Perhaps it’s scrapbooking, cycling, playing the piano or doing improv comedy. Figure out one passion that you’ll make a priority this summer – and how you’ll go about doing that. It might involve starting a monthly scrapbooking circle or joining a local cycling group to add some structure to the pursuit.
Pick a Book. What book has been sitting on your nightstand, untouched because you’re dog-tired at the end of each day? First, move it from your nightstand so it’s in a more public place where you’ll see it several times a day, like your coffee table or a book shelf. And then take it with you when you go outside on a nice summer day. If you’re not into reading as much, check out an interesting documentary. You’ll be feeding your brain, no matter what!
Plan an Adventure. Sometimes we just need to get out of our daily rut to kick-start our brains and our energy. And a change of scenery often does the trick. So, grab a friend and go check out some sights. Chances are there are interesting things to do, historical sites to visit and adventures to be had within an hour or two of your campus. Put it on the calendar now so you’re more inclined to just go!
Learn Something New. Want to learn conversational Spanish for a trip to Mexico? Interested in figuring out how to grow awesome tomatoes? Or are you intrigued by presidential history? Pick something new to learn that will make you feel more competent and confident. Practicing to become a lifelong learner is a skill that will never fail you.
Develop a Professional Pursuit. Maybe you’d like to write for your regional ACPA/NASPA newsletter or a higher ed blog. Perhaps developing three solid staff development sessions now that you can use throughout the year – instead of doing things on the fly – is important to you. Choose a professional pursuit that will feel like an accomplishment, break it down into bite-size steps and do it!
Your summer curriculum can include all of these pursuits or just a few – whatever feels like an organized, healthy approach to you. Just be sure to give you and your interests some attention this summer. You’re most certainly worth it.
Find multiple other ways for you and your student leaders to focus on preparation, well-being and effective leadership with our Student Leader Training Guide Package.