We are almost to Labor Day, the signal that another season is about to begin. Summer is almost over (except here in Florida, where we have summer until December and then we have summer again around March) and you need to know what you did with yours.
I always loved those first essays of the school year—today they would be Powerpoints with photos, videos, and fly-ins—about what you did with your summer. It was a chance to signal its end, in case there was any doubt, and to refocus. Closure, though my teachers didn’t use that word.
So what did you do with your summer? Whatever it was, here’s a good chance to sort through it. To summarize your summer, ponder these questions and do these assignments:
- Who did you meet? If you took a break, like from school or work, whether a vacation or a summer job, you engaged with other people who live and work off your beaten path. Who are they, what do they do, and how will you remain connected? Make a plan, write out the details, and stick to it. This is the way to build a strong network of connections and relationships around you. I see additions to your Excel spreadsheet and database.
- What did you learn? It might just be that you learned how to play tennis or how to shop and find great stuff in Thrift Stores, or it might be huge, like learning that you have a passion for working with the elderly. Whatever it is, it deserves, no, cries out to be memorialized. So write it out and think about what it means, both now and for your career. Is there anything you need to add to your CV or resume? Even a new hobby or interest?
- How have you been changed? This kind of goes to both of the above; both people and experiences change us in a lot of ways. In this country, summers are a transition between one year of school and the next, and most often, we are elevated to a new challenge based on the anticipated maturing that comes with age—and experience. Pretend you are going from one grade to the next. What is different inside your head or your heart that signals transformation? Summers do that.
- So you are another grade higher (this is how we first learned the concepts of peer groups and norms). What do the other kids in your grade do that you don’t plan to do? Who are your peers; what are they up to? Look around before you answer—they were having a summer experience also.
- All in all, what will you do differently from the way you used to do things from now on? Make a list. Make it detailed. Affirm.
I tend to rearrange things at the end of my summer—a lot of closet cleaning, room revisions, photo framing, and stuff like that happens in my house. I don’t always feel changed on my birthday, but I always sense a difference in my outlook when Labor Day rolls around. And a compulsive need for new shoes.