Yay! Summer is finally here!! I get to sleep late, go on vacation, get together with my friends…two weeks later…”I’m bored.”
As a teen, I remember the excitement of summer wearing off, and I was convinced I couldn’t watch any more Netflix or I would explode. It can be really hard when you don’t have the luxury of driving a car yet, especially if your mom works during the day. Oftentimes, moms will desperately try to get creative so their teen has a productive and fun summer, yet come up short. It seems that everything these days either costs a lot of money or is considered “lame” by teens. Luckily, there are some inexpensive and entertaining things to keep us preoccupied this summer. We all postpone doing things we love by using the excuse “I’m too busy.” Here is your chance to explore who you truly are as a person. And besides, who doesn’t dream about getting a Mia Thermopolis makeover over the summer, coming back to school in the fall, and making everybody’s head turn? It’s time to get an inner-beauty makeover that will put a smile on your face!
Summer is a big opportunity to revamp your image. I don’t know about you, but I can easily get into the habit of wearing the same things all the time. I often have to force myself out of my comfort zone by trying on new things in the store. So, here’s your summer challenge: Grab your friends, go into a store you don’t normally shop in, find something unlike anything you have worn before, and try it on! Worst case scenario? You make a new memory with your friends about the ridiculous dress you tried on. Best case scenario? You surprise yourself by loving your new outfit and adding to your wardrobe! You only need a few new staple items to totally give your style a face lift. Not only will you have new, cute summer clothes, but you will also come back to school next year ready to impress. Bonus: New clothes are almost guaranteed to boost your self-confidence level! One of my top shopping tips is that you will find some of the cutest outfits at inexpensive stores. The label on the clothes doesn’t matter at all; what matters is how comfortable you feel in your own skin!
Generation Z’s communication is in constant messaging mode via cell phones, tablets and even game consoles. Tech savvy youth ages 8 to 18 spend an average of seven hours a day behind screens; teens send an average of 3,417 text messages each month; and 97 percent of adolescents have at least one electronic device in their bedrooms. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/teens-on-screens_n_4101758.html ) I know this has been said so many times but do yourself a favor and put down your phones, tear yourself away from the Xbox and get outside!! Some of my favorite summer memories are exploring the outdoors with my family and friends. You might surprise yourself by the beautiful spectacles of nature lying right in your backyard. When the weather is great, get a group together and go to your local state park! You can have a fun day of exploring, hiking and having a picnic. You don’t necessarily have to leave your phone at home, but it’s important to look away from the screen and enjoy your surroundings every once in a while. If you’re not a huge fan of hiking or bike riding, especially in this Texas heat, you could make a butterfly garden! I did this one summer with my mom’s help and it was a really fun and amazing experience! Plus, it’s inexpensive and pretty simple to put together, and totally worth the extra effort.
One thing I would definitely try, if you haven’t already, is auditioning for a play at a local community theatre. The theatre was something I was a part of when I was growing up and I attribute it as a big reason for my self-confidence and leadership skills today. You don’t necessarily have to have a burning desire to be an actor or an actress. It’s simply a lot of fun, and a great way to meet new people while getting outside of your comfort zone. Who knows? You may surprise yourself and fall in love with the stage! Many celebrities did theatre when they were teenagers, so the possibilities are endless, as long as you find the bravery within you to audition for that first show. If the idea of being on stage makes you feel nauseous (don’t worry, you’re certainly not the only one), you can work backstage and have just as much fun! I worked tech as well as being on stage, and both experiences taught me different sets of skills I still use today… Not to mention the new friends!
The most important thing you could do this summer is to be happy. Take your break from school to focus on the things you love and are passionate about. If you don’t have a hobby or passion you could improve upon this summer, try volunteering somewhere! However you choose to spend your summer, spend it how you desire. You are going to look back on these times and wish you could have a whole summer off again more than anything, so take advantage of it! Accomplish your goals, whether it’s getting fit or making memories with friends and family. Use these months to focus on the most important person in your life… you. By doing so, you will boost your self-confidence and feel re-energized and ready to tackle your next school year head-on. So, don’t get discouraged if you don’t have exciting travel plans like your other friends do. Sometimes all it takes to have a meaningful summer is a positive mindset, a beautiful day, and some sweet tea.
“Aaah, summer – that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It’s a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.” – Darell Hammond