[Tips & Tricks] Staying Involved

Look. I get it. I barely survived this semester with my GPA still intact (that's being overdramatic, but ya know). The last thing anyone wants to do is try and use their brains to function any more than necessary. Summer is for long days laying out at the beach, covered in Coppertone or Hawaiian Tropic sunblock, feet sunken down in the muddy sand and cooled by the icy waters-- there may be a book or a magazine involved, but rest assured said book is light and cheesy and the magazine is more images than words. It's heaven for three months of the year when the library becomes a distant horror, checking Web Advisor happens never, and Zimbra is checked maybe once a week.

But the world doesn't take summer breaks. And it keeps spinning, and you really should have some idea of what's going on. Your brain deserves a break, but don't let it fry completely. I'm not saying you should be dragging the Post down to the beach instead of Cosmopolitan, and I don't think the news should be on in the background all the time. What I'm saying is find some ways to stay involved. Know what's going on in the world. Here are some of the ways in which I'm hoping to keep my mental abilities fresh even as a I try and relax a little or even balance an internship and job.

1. Utilize Social Media. Twitter is my favorite. If you don't have an account get one. You don't need to tell your friends; you don't need to get caught up in following drama, etc. You just need to make one and follow these accounts:
  • Associated Press (@AP)
  • CNN (@cnnbrk)
  • Wall Street Journal (@WSJ)
  • Other sources of news, like Fox that you'd watch on TV 
    • Just google the name plus twitter and it will pop up!
As a bonus I also follow these on my Twitter because they tweet about issues in which I'm interested:
  • Half The Sky Movement (@Half)
  • Korean Economist Institute (@KoreaEconInst)
  • Korean Real Time (@KoreaRealTime)
  • Liberty in North Korea (@LibertyinNK)
  • U.S. Embassy Seoul (@usembassyseoul)
  • Levo League (@levoleague)
2. Read Good Books. I'm not saying you need to throw out those trashy beach reads. I'm saying, try to read one or two really good books this summer. Even if you don't like reading, everyone has time for it. Whether it's a long time spent on the toilet (don't lie, you know you have those days) or thirty minutes before bedtime, everyone has time to fit in reading a few pages a day. 

And when I say read, I don't mean mindlessly roam through a book like one would do with beach reads. I mean take a pencil with you and dive in--underline some quotes, circle some important page numbers. It's something I'm still teaching myself to do right now, but it's so worth it later on when you're discussing the book and trying to remember this fantastic scene on this specific page number somewhere in the 300 page book. It doesn't even need to be classic literature. I'm currently reading Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi. 

3. Be a Nerd, Get Ahead. This is easier said than done. As an English major, I can pretty much guess what kind of books will be in my Shakespeare class, so it's not too much of a stretch. But if you have the opportunity to get ahead on work for the next semester, whether it's doing thesis work, reading a book ahead of time, etc, then do it. 

That's mostly what I have for now. Obviously you can substitute  While I'll always advocate for reading, you can always watch a documentary or something that gets you thinking. Do something intellectual that interests you, random research, extensive reading, etc. Just stay involved, don't turn too much to mush no matter how tempting baking in the sun might be.