Use It or Lose It

Posted by Kelli McKinney

Grade school students – from kindergarten to high school – are often sent home at the end of the school year with invitations to all sorts of summer programs. You name the subject, and there’s probably a supercharged, extra awesome summer camp designed to sharpen the student’s skills and prepare them to impress teachers in the fall.

But what about college students, you may ask…where’s their supercharged summer camp?

After all, if you’re not actively practicing a skill, that skill is going to atrophy a little.  In other words – you’ve got to use your brain to keep it sharp, whether you’re continuing/starting school in the fall or entering the job market.

Unless college students enroll in summer coursework or sign up for an internship (both of which we recommend, by the way) – there’s only one camp program they can really count on, and that program’s name is Life.

Once you flipped your graduation tassel and tossed your cap, you probably began building your own extra awesome network of resources. After all, if you’ve enrolled in an online degree program, enlisted in the military, started a job or started a family, you’ve already entered the lifelong process of building experiences.

Another word for that is learning. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to engage the ol’ cranium. Here’s just a few ideas to start you off:

  1. Offer to start a business blog for your boss (friend, spouse, brother…).  (Or, start a blog on a topic that interests you.) As you research, take photos, and write about the business, remember to stay focused on the positive. You want your blog to contribute to your work instead of creating controversy or losing customers. Blogging is a great way to learn and express yourself at the same time.
  2. Volunteer.   Investigate local organizations whose work you appreciate or respect, and find out how you can get involved.  Participating in volunteer work can be an eye-opening experience on many levels – and it helps your community support worthwhile causes.
  3. Read.  So, this one is pretty much a given.  But for some busy people, reading is a luxury activity that frequently falls by the wayside. Don’t let that happen to you. Whether you read newspapers, e-books, or traditional tomes, the key to preventing cobweb brain is to read, read, and read some more.
  4. Set goals.  Small, achievable targets add up to big, impressive wins.  Want to improve your vocabulary?  Get a word-of-the-day app and read it when you wake up each morning. By the end of the summer, you will have learned (or at least read) about a hundred new words.
  5. Get out of your comfort zone.  This doesn’t mean moving from the couch to the loveseat. This means try something new.  It doesn’t have to be dramatic, expensive or newsworthy. It just has to be different for you.  Mixing things up a little keeps you and your brain engaged, spurs creativity and can improve your problem-solving skills.

What are some ways that you’re boosting your brain this summer? Shout it out in the comments below.

 

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