Up Your Game This Summer!
These seriously fun dares will help you have a blast and jump-start your future.
Dare 1: Try on your dream job
Recent college grad Zoe Cordes Selbin has a cool gig at a concert promotion company. How’d she break into the music biz? She volunteered at a radio station in middle school! Here’s her advice for snagging a job-shadowing opportunity this summer:
Start small. It’s unlikely that Urban Outfitters HQ is going to throw its doors open so you can learn more about the fashion industry. But a local designer may very well welcome a little help from an enthusiastic teen.
Keep an open mind. If you dream of writing adventure novels but can’t get J. K. Rowling to answer your e-mails, consider shadowing someone in a related field, such as the buyer at a bookstore or a reporter at your local newspaper.
Reach out. E-mail the person in charge now: Introduce yourself and explain why you’re interested in learning more about the job. Be specific about your summer availability, then ask what opportunities may be open to you!
Life-Changing Potential: A close-up look at a career might prove it’s not for you, which is valuable intel. But if you enjoy your experience, it can lead to more opportunities!
Dare 2: Set out on a city scavenger hunt
You may complain about your boring hometown, but we promise there’s adventure waiting to happen! Try tracking down:
- A restaurant that serves cuisine you’ve never tried before, like sushi
- A building constructed before 1939—use the free app Historypin (historypin.org) for help
- A park with great bird watching—try the Oh, Ranger app (ohranger.com)
- A music store that lets you play the instruments
- An art or history museum
- A farmer’s market (talk to a farmer!)
- A thrift or vintage clothing store
Life-Changing Potential: Studies show that embracing new experiences boosts your confidence and decreases boredom and loneliness!
Dare 3: Flower-bomb your neighborhood
Toss these seed grenades into vacant patches of dirt in your neighborhood. It’s an eco-friendly form of street art!
- Seeds of three species of wildflowers that are native to your area (look them up!)
- 1 lb of organic compost (from a hardware store)
- Air-dry clay
1. Combine a small amount of clay, compost, and just enough water to form a firm mixture.
2. Pinch off a small amount of the mixture, stick a few seeds in it, roll it into a ball, then roll that ball in more compost. (Repeat about 12 times.)
3. Leave the seed grenades to dry on a windowsill.
4. Toss them into untended public spots. Keep visiting to watch your handiwork grow!
Life-Changing Potential: You’ll learn the basics of gardening, and it will get you outdoors. Research shows that being in nature lowers your stress!
Dare 4: Sacrifice (some of) your free time
Helping others gives you the gift of perspective. “Volunteering gets your mind off yourself and your problems,” says Stephen Post, co-author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People. Check out volunteermatch.org or try one of these fun options:
Senior Citizen Centers: Call and offer to spend one afternoon a week teaching seniors about technology.
State or City Parks: Pick up trash, clear buckthorn, or even help out with little kids’ T-ball practices.
Homeless shelters: Be part of the cooking crew! (Don’t worry if you haven’t yet mastered Dare No. 5. They’ll train you.)
Life-Changing Potential: Dozens of studies confirm that volunteering leads to a longer, healthier life. It’s also a great way to make friends with other people who are also committed to important causes!
Dare 5: Pretend you’re on Top Chef
Learning how to cook isn’t as hard as it looks, plus it’s a pretty cool creative outlet! Start with this easy recipe (serves 4):
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
1. Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth.
2. Add other flavors you love! Try hot sauce, avocado, or spices, like cumin and paprika.
Life-Changing Potential: Cooking saves money, which matters big-time in college. Home-cooked meals are healthier than fast food too!
Dare 6: Make a run for it
Everyone needs a summer fitness goal*. Commit to being able to run 30 minutes without stopping by the end of August. (Yes, you can do it!)
Start slowly. Walk and run in small chunks: 1 minute running, 4 minutes walking.
Build gradually. Increase your running time by 10 percent every week. (Bonus: The math will keep your brain sharp!)
Cross-train. Run three times a week and do other activities on off-days. Yoga, a bike ride, or swimming uses different muscles, which will help prevent injuries.
Life-Changing Potential: Exercising when you’re young can lower your risk for depression and heart disease. Plus setting and achieving a goal helps you develop mental toughness!
*Always check with your doctor before you begin any exercise plan.