As high schoolers (especially seniors), we try to spend as much time with our friends as possible, soaking up all the fun before we leave for college. However, as we are about to leave for college, it’s important that we learn more about ourselves, so we’ll be ready to stand alone on the first day of school. Here are some ways to reconnect with yourself before college.
1. Take a drive.
If you’re like me, you spend a lot of the time in the car. If you’re like me, you also spend a lot of time in the car with other people. A car is one of the prime places to reconnect with yourself. Windows down, music blasting, get to know your fun side! We rarely spend time making jokes or having time just for ourselves, and the car is the perfect place for it. Sing as loud as you want and no one can hear it, give yourself a pep talk, have a full on argument with your other half — whatever it is, the car is a prime spot for the songs (or monologues) too loud for your room.
2. Spend a day doing what you would normally do with friends.
Going to lunch, or to the beach, or to the mall, is super fun with friends. I personally never thought going to lunch alone could be fun at all compared to hanging with my friends — before I tried it. Often we think doing things that are normally social activities alone is lame or makes us look like we have no friends, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only do people not really care that you’re at the beach alone, chances are they won’t even notice. Taking the time to appreciate the activity or place for what it is, rather than the company you have, you can learn to appreciate it more. There is nothing more serene than sitting alone on the side of the ocean, reading a book and thinking about your life.
3. Get “memory” apps like 1SE.
My favorite part of this summer was looking back on my 1 Second Everyday app. There are lots of apps out there (not just 1SE) where you can put clips of videos and pictures, one for each day, in a little slideshow. This is perfect for summer because it allows you to stay in the moment. The magic of apps like this lies in the act that you can take only one photo or video from your day and it symbolizes that whole day's worth of activities. It encouraged me to put my phone down and made an awesome memory at the end of the year.
4. Spend some time in nature.
Walk your dog, walk alone, take a trail, try to get lost in your own town, go for a bike ride, dust off your razor scooter, go for a run, sit by your local pond, the outside possibilities are endless and perfect for decompressing and reflection.
5. Look through old family videos/photos (bonus if you do it with your parents!).
Looking at childhood memories right before you head off to college is the perfect way to wrap up living at home. Spend the day with whoever takes care of you, get some coffee, look at old memories, maybe even tell them how much you love them.
6. Organize your schedule.
Though not super deep or reflective, organizing your schedule is the perfect way to make sure you have yourself ready for summer/school. Make sure you aren't overwhelming yourself with activities or events and make sure to balance out your schedule for the fall. Organizing yourself helps you evaluate what's important this summer and fall and making plans for getting those important things will set you up for success.
7. Put your phone down for a day.
The best day I ever had was one where my parents were out of town, I put my phone down, picked up my journal and my summer reading book and just sat outside and read. It’s awesome to not feel obligated to check your Snapchat or post anything on Instagram or consistently refresh your Twitter. Then, at the end of the day, it's also fun to have a lot to catch up on. A relaxing day and a fun night!
Try some guided breathing using either some online techniques, or even a YouTube guided meditation. You can pick up some how-to books at the library, or just sit and reflect on your year. If it's nice out, go outside! Or find a nice cool and quiet spot in your house and relax.
9. Go to a movie alone.
You will be surprised at how awesome it is to see a movie alone. Get yourself a popcorn, a drink and treat yourself to a candy and the best seat in the theater. You can sit right in the middle and no one will complain! This is especially good for seeing a lower budget movie at a local theater, or the big movie that everyone's been talking about but that you haven't made the plans to see.
10. Start a journal.
Super intimidating, I know. If you're like me, you have about 19 started and never finished journals lying around your room. Each one has a beautiful cover and about three entries, all of which say, “I don't know what to write, nothing interesting happened today.” Start small. I recently just started my summer journal, which is about one-third of the way full now. I committed myself to writing every day at the same time, making myself note every part of my day (especially the minor details) and I even tried to include photos. Use a journal you already have, make one just for the summer if you think you can do a whole year, make it themed, doodle in it, whatever you want to make it personal, just keep it consistent and you will have an amazing thing to look back on.
Reconnecting with yourself over the summer, especially this summer, is so important. As we go into college, it is important to be at least mostly sure of who we are and what we want from ourselves, and the summer is the perfect time to figure it out. Spend some quality time alone this summer, and you'll thank yourself for it!
Lead Image Credit: Jack Grossi