April may be the cruelest month, but June is the most boring. The active Fall and Spring semesters have every student rushing to and fro like indecisive squirrels. This rush keeps us on our toes intellectually and emotionally. Constant community and the expectations of academia ensure we’re maintaining steady progress throughout most of the year. However, most of our faculties vanish with the start of the summer months, and binge-watching “Orange is the New Black” doesn’t really help with stagnation. Here are a few projects to help maintain creative and intellectual momentum through the summer slump.
Start learning a new language
Почему нет? There are about seven and a half billion people, most of whom don’t speak English. In fact, while English is one of the most common languages for business and trade, it is only the third-most spoken language in the world, with Mandarin Chinese being the first and Spanish the second. Removing language barriers allows for easier community and transfer of ideas, especially when traveling. The more at home you feel in a foreign climate, the easier it is to get along with the people there, and having even a conversational understanding of their language goes a long way.
If you’re like me, you felt deep shame standing in line at the Next Big Thing. All these brilliant people make beautiful sounds with instruments you can only make screeching noises with. It’s not a great feeling, but it’s not an inevitability either. On the contrary, it only takes about two or three months to become competent with a new instrument, and competency will eventually breed proficiency. One of the easiest, cheapest and most versatile instruments is the guitar, but it’s not the only one. Violin, piano and drums are all great instruments with loads of potential.
This world is a big place. It’s also a beautiful, terrible place. The sun cracks egg-like against the surface of the earth, spilling its light across each horizon. Your job, as a person, is to parse this beauty, and you could do this in any number of ways. Knit a sweater, make some ink, draw a picture. Whatever you do, don’t do it for approval. That’s the quickest way to lose any sort of creative momentum.
The United States is a massive country. Sure, it’s not Russia or Canada, but it is the world’s third largest, and it matches that size with diversity. Between the East and West Coasts sits an explosion of natural beauty and intrigue. From the Ozark hills to the North Dakota badlands to the windmills of Texas, America has no shortage of natural beauty. Hop in your car and take a hike. The world’s waiting for you, so don’t be strangled by monotony.
Read a book
You might quip, “Why in the world would I go back to studying? I just got done with that.” Well, my dear friend, you would go back to studying because the amount any of us know about anything can fit squarely in a thimble. The complication of this world and its philosophies requires careful consideration. Read Aristotle’s Poetics, or Augustine’s Confessions. How about the entire Bible? Read the Quran or a book about the history of crocheting. Whatever helps you keep your mind sharp in the idle summer months.