hey everyone – it’s me (priscilla) again! i’m officially DONE with my freshman year of college. wow. i literally just posted my first semester reflection, and now the entire year is over. it’s been kind of a crazy ride, but i’m proud of myself for making it out alive! last summer, i definitely romanticized the idea of college – i thought everything would be perfect once i arrived on campus, but things really didn’t go the way i expected. first semester was kinda rough, and second semester was kinda similar (so much for all those goals, oops). i’ve still been struggling with my mental/emotional health and also dealing with complicated relationships. but despite all the struggling, it’s been a pretty good year, and i can’t say i have many regrets.
now it’s back to suburban california for the summer, and it’s going to be such a huge change from living in the city and being surrounded by other students and friends literally 24/7. throughout the semester, i applied for different programs/positions – research in nyc, a scholarship for studying abroad in korea, a program coordinator position for barnard’s summer precollege programs, a part-time position at a psychiatric clinic in the city, etc – but nothing worked out, so i’ll be spending the next 3.5 months back in the bay area. no internships, no classes, nothing. sounds great, right? but to me, not so great. for a while, i kinda resigned myself to the fact that summer was going to be unbearably boring.
BUT the more i
worried thought about what i was going to do this summer, i realized that this doesn’t have to be a boring, uneventful summer where every day feels the same. i don’t want to just stay home, scroll mindlessly through instagram, binge kdramas, complain about how terrible my summer break is, and repeat day after day. so… i won’t! it’s that simple.
i realized that summer is actually the perfect time to work on myself. there’s a lot of things i’ve been wanting to do but “don’t have time” for, and that’s no longer an excuse during the summer! i’ll try to find a part-time job, but that still leaves me with a ton of free time. a summer break where i don’t have anything i actually HAVE to do has the potential to be either ridiculously boring or absolutely amazing, so i’m going to make the most out of the 14 weeks i have!
so, i’ve created some weekly challenges for the summer! i’ll focus on something different every week and force myself to actually stick to it, at least for those seven days. if i love it, that’s amazing and hopefully i’ll keep doing it! if i hate it, that’s also fine, and i’ll never have to do it again. but either way, i’ll at least give these all a try and see if these changes make a difference in my life. without further ado, here are the challenges!
weeks 1-4: physical health
sleep by 12am every night – and start getting ready by 11pm! i usually do sleep around 12, but i want to make my sleep schedule more consistent. also, i want to actually start getting ready early so i can take my time to relax and unwind. i feel like unplugging from screens about an hour (or more!) before bed really makes a difference, so i’m excited to try it out for an entire week. my ideal bedtime routine: turn off/put away my phone and computer, brush my teeth, change into pajamas and wash my face, clean up my room/desk a bit, journal, write down a to-do list for the next day, read, then sleep!
take a walk every day. i actually love taking walks, so this is another thing i want to make into a habit. hopefully i can walk for at least 30 min (preferably 1 hour!) every day in the afternoon or evening. it’d be super fun to try and catch the sunset every day! if the weather isn’t good, i’ll do some other form of exercise – maybe dancing or just a workout in my room.
no added sugar. i LOVE sweet things, so this will definitely be one of the more difficult challenges, but i think it’ll be really interesting to see if cutting out sugar makes any difference in how i feel physically and mentally. i also want to focus on eating mindfully and not use screens at all while i’m eating! i often tend to scroll through instagram or read an ebook while i’m eating, especially if i’m eating alone, but i’ll try to enjoy my meals more fully and just BE in the moment.
wake up at 7am (maybe even 6am??) every day. hopefully by this time, my sleep schedule/routine is relatively consistent. i’ll also work on gradually sleeping earlier throughout weeks 2-3 so that waking up early won’t be ridiculously difficult. i realized that i’m usually more productive in the morning, so i’ll just try waking up by 7am every day this week and see how that goes! i’ve also never really watched the sunrise, so i think it’d be super fun to do that this week!
weeks 5-8: emotional health
meditate every day. if you’ve read my wrap-up/reflection posts, you probably know i’ve been trying to get (back) into the habit of meditating for soooo long, and it just never sticks. i KNOW that meditating actually makes me feel so much calmer and just better overall, so it’s definitely something i want to implement into my daily routine. ideally, i’ll meditate in the morning after i wake up, instead of checking emails and scrolling through facebook. even if i don’t meditate every single day, my goal is to meditate 50 minutes total (that’s 5 days of 10-min meditations).
journal every day. this is another habit i’ve been wanting to start/build for a long time! i also want to get back into bullet journaling, so hopefully it’ll be even easier to incorporate normal journaling. i think it’ll be really helpful to reflect on my thoughts, feelings, and actions at the end of each day so i can figure out what went well and what can be improved. honestly, my biggest struggle with journaling is that i usually leave it until the end of the night, when i’m too tired to journal and just want to go straight to bed. however, if week 1 goes well, hopefully that won’t be a problem anymore!
limit phone use to 2 hours per day – but the less the better! recently, i’ve been trying to be more aware of my screen time, which is 4 hours a day on average. i actually had a few days this past week where i used my phone for less than 3 hours (not too bad, right?), but i realized that on those days, i also spent a lot more time on my laptop than usual. i definitely want to reduce overall screen time, but especially my phone use, since i know i waste so much time doing basically nothing on my phone. what will i do instead? practice guitar, practice dancing, try cooking/baking something, read, practice lettering, work out – there are so many options!
no social media. at all. no instagram, snapchat, facebook, twitters, tumblr, etc. i actually wanted to do this for lent, but i didn’t want to go soooo long without posting on my foodstagram (that was honestly the main barrier haha). however, i think this challenge will help me develop a much healthier relationship with social media, because i’ll realize that i really don’t need those apps at all. and hopefully, it won’t be too hard after week 7! i’ll still be able to text my friends, so it hopefully won’t feel like i’m completely isolated.
weeks 9-14: personal goals
marie kondo my room! i’m not sure what state my room will be in at this point in the summer, but i definitely still have a lot of things i don’t need (things that don’t ~spark joy~) so i should definitely sort through everything! i’d love for my room and my overall life to be more minimalistic and to get rid of things that aren’t serving me anymore. also, i really feel like the state of our personal spaces reflects and affects the state of our mind – clean room, clear mind!
spend an hour on devotions every day. okay….an hour might be a bit much to start with, but this is another habit i really want to build. ideally, i’ll spend some time reading the bible, writing down my thoughts, and praying about it every day, probably in the morning after i meditate or in the evening before journaling.
work on blog posts every day. i’ve been doing pretty well with blogging recently, and i definitely want to keep it up! hopefully, i’ll have a post up every 1-2 weeks. in order to meet this goal, it’ll definitely be really helpful to have a block of time (1-3 hours?) set aside every day just to brainstorm, draft, and format blog posts!
take pictures every day. photography is something i really really want to work on – i’ll hopefully be able to get a dslr camera over the summer, and i’m sooo excited to learn more about photography! i want to spend some time every day going out just to take photos and practice using a dslr, and i also want to document different memories from my summer. side note: i might try vlogging this whole experience (may or may not post it)!
try something new every single day – take risks!! this is a bit vague, but it can be honestly anything. it can be as simple as trying a new food or as crazy as dyeing my hair a new color! other ideas: cook a new recipe, learn to play a new song on the guitar, learn a new dance, order something new at a boba shop. essentially, i just want to get out of my comfort zone and switch things up a bit!
take myself on dates. i’ll be spending a lot of time alone this summer, so hopefully i’ll be a bit more comfortable being by myself by week 14! ultimately, i really want to learn to love myself more, and i hope all these goals will help me move towards that. anyway, i’ll treat myself this last week, whether that means visiting a new cafe, going to the bookstore, seeing a movie (alone!), exploring san francisco, or chiller activities like watching netflix and grabbing boba. i really want to learn to enjoy my own company without feeling the need for constant stimulation (aka instagram), and i think this is a great way to end this summer of challenges!
after writing this post, i’m feeling a lot more excited about this summer! i actually have things to look forward to now, and i’m excited to work on becoming a better version of myself. a few other things i’m looking forward to: got7’s world tour and kcon/trip to la (tentative).
this summer is filled with sooo much potential, and i can’t wait to seize all the opportunities ahead of me! i’ll definitely keep you all updated on how the summer goes :))
what are your plans for the summer? i’d love to hear about what you all are doing this summer!