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Ah, summer vacation. Sunshine days filled with visits to the pool, bike rides through the park, and drippy ice cream cones. While you should definitely use your summer for much needed rest and mental recharge, this is also a fantastic time to catch up on things you don’t have time for during the school year. Here’s a list of ways to stay semi-productive over your summer vacation!

1. Get a part-time job

Gaining work experience can benefit you in so many ways, from igniting your professional passions to developing essential transferable skills. Be sure to choose a job that interests you: apply for an internship in a field you might like, volunteer at an organization that speaks to you, or choose a summer job that will build your exposure to different occupations. In pursuing one or more of these activities, you will build your resume! Learn more about gaining hands-on experience in high school here.

2. Study for the ACT or SAT

Of course, prepping for the ACT/SAT may not be the most exhilarating way to spend your summer, but it will help you feel less stressed when your schedule kicks back up in the fall. Brainstorm fun ways for you to incorporate your test prep into your summer schedule: review your vocabulary flashcards while lounging by the pool or form a study group with your friends. Even if you just spend 30 minutes everyday doing a few prep problems, you will have a generous head-start without sacrificing the leisure of your vacation.

3. Get involved in a hobby you enjoy

When you’re deciding on a hobby or project, make sure it’s something you genuinely enjoy. Think about the things you wish you had more time to do during the school year. Is it more time creating art? More time perfecting songs on the violin? Or more time playing team sports? Worry less about how certain activities will look on resumes or applications, and focus more on the activities that spark happiness.

Ultimately, your summer should be relaxing and fun! Don’t stress yourself out too much with expectations about what you should or should not be doing. Even if it turns out you don’t have the energy to pursue extra projects, don’t worry.

Sometimes, we all just need a break; be gentle and patient with yourself. When you’ve had enough rest, your motivation to try new things or pursue unique projects will emerge!