Summer is for getting outside … of your comfort zone

How many times have you wanted to try something new or learn more about something that you’re genuinely interested in, but your course schedule, extracurriculars and part-time job just don’t allow you the time to explore? Summer is great for getting some well-deserved rest and relaxation from the trials and tribulations the past two semesters put you through.

VALLEY thinks that some of the best relaxation you can get is from investing your time in things you’re passionate about or finding something stimulating to do with your newfound free time.

Yes, you’re probably thinking, “Free time? I’ll be working an internship and another job on the side while I take an extra 3 credits of work to catch up on my major requirements!” Which is why VALLEY wants to make sure you’re thinking ahead.

Make a plan for next summer to shape your arranged experiences around those areas you want to explore, but can’t find the time for.

One way to do this is to look for your summer job with these interests in mind. If you’re going to be putting time and effort into something day after day for months on end, why not make sure it’s interesting. You can also streamline this job search by thinking more about how you can take this exploration and mix it with the career path you’re aiming for. This way, you get to gain professional experience that is tailored to something you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe you’ll even have a change of heart through such an experience.

If you’re trying to finish up earning some credits toward your degree, you can easily attune your coursework to coincide with your desire to try something new. The variety of courses offered at Penn State University is astounding and they are often overlooked. Even if you just need to fill a General Education requirement, it’s easy to find a class that offers you the new perspective you’re looking for — and you’re being productive at the same time.

With all this in mind, one of the easiest things you can add to both busy days or relaxing ones: read. Books, magazines, online articles — anything. This is the easiest way to invest in something new while learning about it in depth. Adding it into your nightly routine ensures that you have time allotted to explore new things while allowing you the freedom to customize it to your own personal schedule. Start out by reading 20 minutes every night before bed and then adjust that time according to whether you don’t have enough/have too much time left over.

Getting outside your comfort zone gives you a new freedom that you can take charge of and provides you with the opportunity to grow and to learn more about yourself, all while being productive.


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