Three Cures for the Summertime Blues

by Branden Stewart

Have you heard that old song “Summertime Blues”? Aside from the nostalgia it evokes in me for the classic 1994 film, Camp Nowhere, the song also applies to how I usually felt around this time of year in college. School’s ending for the summer, the sunshine is here to stay, and it is (FINALLY) shorts weather. What’s there to be blue about, you might ask? Not to be a downer, but I remember being bummed out in the summer when all my friends scattered for a few months between semesters.

Sure, summer is a great time to relax a bit, and for college students, make some extra cash at a summer job or internship. But do you ever just get bummed out that despite the great weather, you can’t enjoy it fully because all your friends aren’t living two doors down? I know I still feel that way, and I’ve been out of college for seven years! However, there’s hope to take care of your blues a bit. And I’ve learned it from my experience working with Phired Up.

Over here at Phired Up (and at our sister companies, Innova and TechniPhi), the summer months are just as busy as any other time of year. We’re planning ahead for Fall recruitment season. We are hosting events for our industry partners to thank them for their time, and help provide their teams with learning opportunities to gain the tools they’ll need to see successful growth in the year ahead. Our team even gets together for a few days in June just to hang out together, recharge, and have a little fun before the craziness of August is upon us.

You can model this behavior too. Here’s three ways to beat those summertime blues in the next few months as you wait eagerly to rejoin your brothers and sisters back on campus this Fall.

1)    Plan. You’ve probably got some time on your hands this summer. If you’re not in class, and you’re working a part-time job, then you’re one of the lucky people who may have some free time. What a concept! Use it wisely this summer. Help your chapter or council plan for success this Fall. Use end of the year funding to pre-pay for a workshop this Fall. Call your advisor and pick their brain about ways you can be pro-active. Scan your names list and see if there are any PNMs living near you this summer you can get to know better. If you use your time strategically and wisely, you’ll be thanking yourself this Fall.

2)    Learn. Even though you’re out of class, that doesn’t mean you can’t use this summer to get a little smarter. There are so many options for you this summer to keep learning and growing as a leader! There’s books, blogs, and free resources for you to check out… but I’d like to point you toward some experiences.

First, contact your headquarters to learn what leadership opportunities may exist for you to attend. If they’re full this year, go next year! If your fraternity or sorority has a convention this summer, attend it! Going to my fraternity’s convention in college is one of my fondest memories as an undergraduate.

If you’re not in a convention year, or if your fraternity or sorority doesn’t have leadership programs hosted this summer, don’t fret! There’s two other really, really cool opportunities for you to consider (I’m biased because I’ve been part of these before). Both UIFI and AFLV LeaderShape provide exceptional opportunities on a national level for students this summer. At the time of this posting, there’s still spots available for both!

As a UIFI graduate and former intern, I’ve got nothing but great things to say about how it impacted me as a student leader… and the impact it still has on me today. Ditto for LeaderShape, which I’ve helped to both coordinate and facilitate when I worked at AFLV. There’s a reason thousands of students of the years have walked away from these programs to make a positive change on their campuses and the world.

Moment of truth, people: if I could re-live any parts of college, getting the chance to go back and re-do summer leadership experiences again for the first time would be my absolute number one choice. Pro-Tip: They can get a bit pricey, so consider asking your campus administrators or national foundation if there are scholarships or funding available.

3)    Play. Have some fun this summer! It’s a great time for road trips, so when you’re feeling blue and missing your friends, hop in the car and go visit them! Get your chapter or council leaders together and do a fun retreat, if for no other reason than just to spend some quality time. If you went home for the summer, hit up some friends who stayed back on campus and find a weekend to come visit. Whatever you do this summer, find a way to enjoy yourself. You’ve got a stressful few months ahead of you, so making the most of the time you have now will pay dividends when you get back to school.

That’s it from me today, pals. The sun is shining, my dog needs walking, and I just found out Camp Nowhere is on HBO Go. H.A.G.S.!