Obviously, this may not be the best summer ever. Most of what you’d planned to do or what you’d normally do during these long, hot days isn’t going to be possible. You might be taking online classes or have volunteer or other kinds of work that you can do virtually, but a lot of people are going to be left to their own devices to find productive ways to fill their time. One way you can do this is by coming up with a project that you can reasonably finish before school starts.
It doesn’t matter what kind of project you come up with — the important thing is that it will be meaningful and fun for you to do, and will genuinely reflect your interests and values. It’s never a good idea to do things because you think they’re what colleges want you to do, and that’s definitely true here. Don’t waste your time pondering whether or not a project will be “impressive”. Brainstorm about what matters to you as a person, and what would make you proud to accomplish. It’s totally fine to ask other people for suggestions and input, but whatever you ultimately choose to do should be something that you’ll want to get up and work on every day.
Maybe you could help build or renovate something in your house. Fix a car. Do some landscaping. Organize virtual open mike nights. Read literature from a country or time period that interests you — or delve into a historical period and become an expert on it. Put together a play or other performance with friends. Lead online classes in baking or dance or whatever your passion is for younger kids in the neighborhood. Invent something. Sew a little wardrobe. Create a virtual film festival where people watch and discuss films in real time. Think about a need — whether in your family or community — and come up with a way to fill it. The possibilities really are endless. But whatever you do, it has to be something that inspires you, that you are motivated to do, and that you can reasonably finish in a summer.
It’s essential that you make a plan before you launch a project. A good place to start is by using a SMART goal approach (you can google this) as a guide to help you set project objectives. You definitely want to make sure that the scope of your project is attainable. In other words, it’s probably doable to get your musician friends together to market and perform an online show, but much less so to create an online venue that will host a revolving line up of international performers.
To keep things moving along, create a reasonable timeline for yourself to complete the different phases of your project. Make sure you think in advance about what you’ll need in terms of materials and support so that your work will be successful — you want both to be readily available so you’re not wasting time trying to gather stuff and/or help. Consider whether the project is something you can do on your own, or if it would be better shared with a friend or someone in your family. Speaking of other people, it could also be a good idea, even if you’re doing the project alone, to make someone your accountability buddy, and set up regular check ins with them to help you stay on track.
The most important thing is to choose a project and get it underway! The summer is short and, while it may seem impossible from the way it currently looms before us as a wasteland of boredom, it will go by fast. Just make something happen and have some fun. Even if this isn’t the best summer of your life, you can make it one to remember.