Make Summer 2024 Your Smart Girl Summer

If you’ve ever heard of the Eisenhower Matrix, which sorts tasks by urgency and importance, it’s clear that amidst the bustle of the fall and spring semesters, usually only urgent and important priorities are getting tackled. Summer break can be the perfect time to take on important but non-urgent tasks, which can impact our personal and professional development. So, as June approaches, here are five things you can do to set yourself up for success in the coming semesters and make this your ~Smart Girl Summer~.  

1- Update your resume.  

This can seem daunting, but to make it a little easier, consider keeping a running list in your Notes app of the things, big or small, that you’ve done since you last updated your resume. Did you complete a big project for a class that could be relevant to employers? Did you get certified in Microsoft Office? This way, when you sit down to rework your resume, none of your *extraordinary* accomplishments slip through the cracks. Also consider sites like, which, in addition to offering formatting tools, provides editable, ready-made descriptions for your experience section by job type, taking the guesswork out of distilling months or years of working into a few bullet points.   

2 – Rework your habits.  

Usually, summer has a slower pace than the traditional school year, making it the perfect time to change the habits that aren’t serving us. Waking up tired every morning? Take the time to list reasons why and try new solutions, from shifting your bedtime to skipping that afternoon cup of coffee, comforted by the knowledge that this trial-and-error process isn’t nearly as high-stakes during the summer as if you had an 8am class the following day. Other areas to consider include your phone use (see #4!), cleanliness, and organization.  

3 – READ.  

You’re hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t wish to read more. Well, congratulations, you can! Pass those lazy summer afternoons with a book (hopefully a physical one, for the sake of your vision), and by the time the school year rolls around, it will be one more habit that keeps you off your phone and expanding your mind. If it helps, lean into the ~reading aesthetic~ like all the fashion girls are, from coordinating your outfit to your book to picking a scenic area to read—whatever gets us dialed in to lit! NeW has some excellent book club selections, so check them out here 

4 – Get off your phone!  

By that, I mean helping your brain better regulate its dopamine levels by unplugging from social media’s variable reward schedules. What’s a variable reward schedule? It’s when you’re rewarded seemingly at random while performing a task, which is the exact mechanism that fuels gambling addiction. The brain is easily hooked by rewards that come at an unpredictable interval, such as social media likes, which trigger a dopamine response that can be addictive. You can learn more about this here!   

In addition to pleasure and reward-seeking behaviors, addiction, and emotion, dopamine affects cognition, memory, attention, and learning—AKA the building blocks of being a functional human, let alone a successful professional. Exercise, listening to music, meditation, sunlight exposure, dancing, and even making a list of small tasks and completing them are simple ways to boost dopamine healthily and set yourself up for success in all areas of your life. And with the sunshine and vibrance of the summer months, it’s the perfect time to get outside, get moving, and try something new!  

5 – Hone your aesthetic sense.  

Ok, this is a fun one. I’m talking about two hobbies I love: fashion and interior decorating (don’t worry, I also have hobbies that don’t involve shopping!). Just because we don’t have a Prada budget or Joanna Gaines’s warehouse of décor doesn’t mean we can’t spruce up our closets and spaces in the summer months. One of the simple pleasures in life is wearing an outfit you love, and it’s a lot easier to keep your room clean if the space truly feels like yours.  

Start where all the beautiful things in life do: on Pinterest. Whether you’re updating your wardrobe or décor, take the time to comb through every aesthetic imaginable, from boho to preppy to grunge (somehow, I’m a mixture of all three?). Figure out which colors, textures, and silhouettes spark something in you, and get to shopping! Places like American Eagle and Old Navy are two of my favorite clothing stores with great sales. For décor, stores like Michael’s (it’s way more than just crafting supplies and regularly runs 40-70% off sales!), Hobby Lobby, HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Five Below, and Target have inexpensive and adorable options—I just picked up the cutest flower-shaped candle from Target for a whopping $3. Crafting a closet and space you love doesn’t have to be daunting or expensive; instead, it is an exploration of your sense of style that makes life just a little sweeter and gets you ready to tackle whatever life throws your way. 

This blog post was written by Darien Barrera, NeW Digital Communications Fellow.


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