It’s Grace here, typing from Tampa, which is where most of my posts for the next few months will take place. For the first time since I was nine and started going to summer camp, I’ll be home for the summer — which is both comforting and scary.
For those of you who just finished up BookExpo America, I hope you’re having an absolute blast. I’m hoping that I might be able to sneak a trip to New Orleans for ALA Annual since my “side” (read: bookish) life will be taking precedence this summer. I have lots of time to get the blog to the standard that I want it to be, which is difficult since I’m a perfectionist.
I’ve had a few of my summer plans fall through, since this is my “selfish summer.” Because I go to a tiny school that doesn’t quite offer the skills I need to work in my chosen field, I’m hoping to boost up some of those while I’m home — teaching myself via books and online classes. But I’ll get to that later.
From January to March, I was steadfastly convinced that I’d be in South Africa for the summer. I was going to do an abroad internship in Cape Town.
And then the water crisis started complicating our plans. We got moved about an hour outside of the city — which was my main purpose in visiting, because the town itself is SO COOL — and there was a lot of uncertainty. Also, my brother is in the military and this July would be the first time that my siblings would be all together to go to Canada. So my parents sat me down, looked at my offered internship and the expenses of the trip, and asked me to seriously consider whether I’d be willing to give up my abroad experience.
So I ultimately decided that family time and the accommodations of our trip meant that I’d be justified in not going.
When I got elected to be our school’s Vice President for the next year, I told myself that I would take an easy summer. Force myself to relax before taking on so much.
Instead, I then threw myself into planning for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with a friend. We planned the section and equipment and all. I was psyched to get to spend some time outdoors. While I’ve always been a huge nature lover, I got really into it this winter/spring term — spending any time possible hiking with my favorite people. My PE 180 (backpacking) course retreat was my absolute favorite — camping under the stars, hips sore from my backpack digging into my sides, collapsing with that satisfied end-of-day exhaustion. I was going to spend two to three weeks in California on the trail.
That (very recently) got nixed because my parents realized that I am a twenty-year-old girl. I definitely want to make PCT or App Trail happen when I’m older (and I’m kind of nervous that I’ll never get the chance to) but it was definitely devastating that it’s considered unsafe to do it now.
So I’m at home.
While I recognize the value of having a lazy summer, I don’t do too well with being cooped up. So I’m looking for ways that I can really tap into my creative side and just get work done on my laptop.
Currently, my schedule is divided — my ideal schedule versus what I’m currently following. I’m still in that phase of recovery in which I’ve been rolling over and falling right back asleep, so I usually end up wasting my morning sleeping. I’ve also been spending a ton of time in the sun though, so I still feel like I’m winning in that regard.
In a magical world, here’s what I would be trying to do.
8:00 am — get up and run — distance depends on my half-marathon plans.
9:30 am — post-shower breakfast, coffee, checking emails, reading news, etc,.
Note: my preferred columns aren’t news at all but instead Brain Pickings + Modern Love.
10:30 am — blogging — the business side of the creative fun
1:00 pm — lunch!
2:00 — rest hour (yes, this is shamelessly a camp schedule)
3:00 — studying/online class (coding, design, etc,.)
6:00 — write/make art
7:15 — yoga!
8:30 — dinner
10:00 — read
Because I’m home for the purpose of being serendipitous and untethered, I’m going to try and go with the flow with what pops up. But I’m also significantly happier when I have structure and am being productive. So this is the goal. I just want to spend as much time as possible in the sunshine, learning, and making things.
I’m in that phase of college when people are starting to figure out what they’re doing (and some of my friends already have jobs, which is terrifying) so I’m getting a little panicky about not having an exact plan.
I know I want to do something creative: branding agency, content creation, entertainment-oriented, event planning? Anything along those lines.
Anyways, most of those require having a portfolio, a tad bit of coding know-how, and some mastery of Adobe Creative Cloud. Unfortunately, W&L doesn’t offer graphic design classes because we are tiny. So self-teaching/online classes are the way to go.
I’m currently putting together my portfolio website — luckily, I enjoy putting together websites, as evidenced — and I’ve been doing a ton of hand lettering. I love it, and I’d love to get a shop up and running.
Also, since I have this summer free, might as well start prepping for grad school exams. Chipping away a little bit, day by day.
As for my personal life, being in warm weather always puts me on a health kick. It’s so much easier to exercise and be healthy when the temperatures are high. My entire family is trying to eat paleo during the weekdays, and I’ve been training for a half-marathon — so that in itself is something to work towards all summer. (It’s very slow-going.)
First of all, I want to schedule blog posts through the end of the fall semester. My goals? To have at least a review and a Waiting on Wednesday post per week — a book I’ve read and one I’m looking forward to.
I genuinely enjoy working on content during the year, but I hate when the blog goes a week or two without a post — when I’m swamped with work or haven’t been reading. I read so many books over the summer that go un-reviewed or undocumented, and I have so many suggestions when friends ask me for recommendations. Now that I have the time, I can absolutely find creative ways to spotlight those.
Over the summer, I want to put together compilations of mood boards, playlists, recommendation groupings, and more so that I’m featuring books in a way that fits with what I’m looking for within them — atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere.
Just ideas whirling around in my head, but that’s something I’m psyched to try out.
June is a lot of filling dead space. Towards the end of the school year, I started getting pumped up for events that will happen later this summer, and it’s part of why the days have been going slowly.
Every summer, my family goes to Canada, to a lake house that’s pretty separate from society. We spend two weeks wakeboarding, reading, playing cards. It’s always been the epitome of summer for me, and I couldn’t be more excited that everyone’s going to be there this year. (As much of a bummer as it is to miss South Africa, that was something I couldn’t give up!) It’s shaping up to be a good year for the island, and I’m counting down the days.
I’m also looking forward to going back to camp, which was something I hadn’t expected I’d be able to do. My camp counselor self is my best version of myself, and I adore being able to take care of a crew of girls. I love campfires and friendship bracelets and archery and the smell of pine.
Aside from that, I’m hoping to be able to visit friends at some point. (I swear, my entire pledge class is divided between D.C. and New York.) Some city hopping would be fun, and it’d be good to do a little traveling even if it wasn’t the kind I expected.