The teen novel trope. It’s a future school year. Heads turn. Students whisper about plastic surgery, winning the lottery, illicit deals. Who is that new kid? Oh, it’s the previously nerdy girl who, throwing off her glasses, sheds her timid personality to emerge as a highly sexualized bombshell. Such changes aren’t…very possible for most people, but summer is the perfect time to reinvent yourself. Many ideas can be found on the Internet, in a library, or from a person. Large and lasting changes are costly and often ineffective, so a huge lifestyle change probably won’t happen in the course of a month. That said, focus on what you want! Here’s a few starter suggestions:
- Pick up a language through websites like Verbling or Livemocha.
- Take an online class at Coursera. You even get a certificate!
- Visit a library and check out some reading material.
- Try a new hobby. Ask a friend, read about it, or visit a store.
- Catch up on social justice and look at yourself and who you are.
- Cut it, dye it, grow it. If you don’t like the way your hair looks, summer is a time where not all of your peers will see any hairdressing disasters. That said, look online or ask a hairdresser before layering your hair and dyeing it lime green.
- Find some clothing DIYs to spruce up your closet.
- Practice makeup looks – there’s tons of blogs and YouTube tutorials.
- Now’s the time to drop the words you started saying ironically.
- Practice public speaking. Talk to yourself in the mirror. Read a ToastMasters magazine.
- Read, ponder, discuss. Find out what you stand for. Learn more about issues in our society like the economy and sexism.
- Aspire to new role models. Look for someone you admire, whether it’s someone you know, or someone online. Note: if you want to aspire to someone who’s not a straight white guy, it might take some more effort, but those people exist!
- Bond with people you feel comfortable with. Skype, stay in touch, or snail mail. Stay close to your friends, and make new ones, either online or in person.
- Practice some self care. Express your emotions in a safe way and find community. There’s other people like you out there. Take selfies and become comfortable with yourself – if you’re not, think about how you can change.
- Remember how awesome you are! You do a lot of things, so think about what you’re good at. Practice things that make you happy. It’s perfectly fine to avoid people who make you uncomfortable or unsure of yourself.
- Get help. If the school year stopped you from seeking treatment, whether physical or mental, you have a bit more opportunity during the summer.
- Workout, go outside, and sleep. Treat your body well, especially after surviving finals.