How I Made My 5 Month Summer Productive

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High school graduation

I graduated high school on April 2, 2016 and that day also marks the start of my 5 month summer vacation.

Starting junior year of high school I’ve been fantasizing about what I’d be doing during the longest summer of my life. Summer is usually from April to May then school starts on June, but due to the academic calendar shift here in the Philippines some universities start on August or September. I’m enrolled at DLSU and we start on September 13, 2016— this gives me over 5 months of free time. I’ve long since decided that I will make this the most productive summer thus far. So here are some of the things I was able to do!

Exercise

I’ve always wanted to start getting serious with my health and lifestyle, not for aesthetic purposes but because I want to be genuinely healthy so that I can maintain my body and keep up with daily tasks as I get older. I was able to exercise regularly from March to May since this was when I had the most control over my schedule. But recently I’ve been exercising only on weekends . Here’s my routine:

  • Wake up at 7AM
  • Wear my workout clothes immediately
    • Wearing my workout clothes immediately after waking up makes me less likely to back out from exercising
  • Small snack
  • Start my run (20-30 min)
    • Warm up and stretching
    • 5 min walk, 10-20 min run, 5 min walk
    • Strength exercises (sometimes haha)
    • Cool down stretch
  • Have breakfast
  • Record my exercise in a planner
    • It’s a lot more satisfying to be able to see your progress and how much work you’ve put in. Having a record does just that!
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In the montly view I’d “X” the days where I exercised
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In the weekly view I’d write down what I did (time, distance, etc)

Yeah, it’s basic and not at all rigorous— the goal was just to include it in my lifestyle. I made it a point to exercise in the morning because this is when I am most productive and it sets my day right. If I didn’t do anything else throughout the day other than binge watch TV shows, at least I get to say I got a morning run in!

Serve in Youth for Christ – SB2

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YFC SB2 Camp Homebound

We had our summer entry camp called “Homebound” and a kids camp called “Inside Out” on May. The months April to May were hugely productive because we were preparing for the entry camp.

I served as one of the creatives head. As part of the creatives team, we were in charge of the YGMs (You’ve Got Mail), IDs, posters, camp shirt, documentation and the same day edit of camp itself. It honestly felt great to be designing again after my long hiatus from media.

I also served as a member of the music ministry where I definitely put myself out of my comfort zone. I was supposed to be a guitarist but eventually became one of the vocalists (LEL). I am not a singer by any means but we needed another singer so I agreed and got over myself. It was also my first time being part of a band and it opened my eyes to the magic that happens when people make music together. Huge props to musicians for dealing with setbacks, imperfection and frustration that comes with working with a band— yet you still create magic that can only be heard and felt.

This was also the time when I truly fell in love with my SB2 YFC family. As one community, we shared the trials and triumphs in serving one God.

Other than serving in camps, my service as a household head also started this June. I’ve got a yearlong journey and commitment with this service and I look forward to where it takes me.

Travel

I was able to go to 3 different places this summer, namely:

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Tinuy-an Falls, Bislig, Surigao del Sur

Davao and Surigao, Mindanao (April)

I was with a bunch of CFC couples and I was the only kid that came with them! We went island hoping and visited a lot of waterfalls. I have 2 main takeaways from that trip:

  1. I had no idea Mindanao was so beautiful and pristine.
  2. The married and family life is hard. Props to all married couples out there!
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Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand (May)

My mom had a business trip so I tagged along with her and we stayed there for 4 days. I met up with a friend who lived in Bangkok and she toured me around the city. It was exhilarating being able to travel with no adult supervision, it felt like a huge step into adulthood. We were in control, we set the time and we owned our decisions.

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Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo and Osaka, Japan (June)

This trip served as my graduation and 18th birthday gift. I spent 9 days there with my parents and grandmother. Together we toured famous shrines, buildings, city areas and of course shopping districts. I was even able to spend a day with my friends who were in Osaka as well!

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Osaka, Japan

Japan is so far the most culturally rich country I’ve been to. Their food (we rarely had a bad meal), style, traditions, anime obsession and overly intricate transportation system stood out. I’d love to go back and explore more places!

Have a summer job

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With my co-workers

I had my mind set to finding a summer job so that I could be productive and earn some money (kasi walang allowance kapag summer huhu). When I finally got a job, I found out that working is probably the best experience I had this summer and my life (so far).

I worked as a secretary and receptionist for a tutorial center in Alabang for 2 months (June 15 to August 12). I was in charge of taking calls, answering inquiries, scheduling, talking to parents, updating their student and teacher database, taking payments, and a lot more. Nothing prepared me for this and I definitely struggled at work. I never imagined being faced with such “adult” problems and scenarios this early in my life.

I worked from 9:30AM to 5PM and I have to admit, each day I’d count down the hours until I had to go home— it was that kind of experience. Suddenly I treasured weekends and down time. But nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade that (painful) experience for anything. I’ve definitely grown more knowledgeable about the real world, adulting, money and providing for the people you love. Earning a living is no joke, and I now have mad respect for the people who provide for their family selflessly.

My work experience deserves a whole other post, I hope I could write and share it soon.

Catch up with friends

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Zobel friends

Since this is the last summer before my friends and I go off to different colleges, I made it a point to set aside time to meet up with them. It’s crazy because just a year ago we were stressing about college applications, studying for the CETs and dealing with senior year. Now that we’ve graduated past that, the conversation’s different. We talk about what course we’re in, our university, if we’re dorming or uwian and our other plans as we start our new journey.

Everyone goes through this stage and it really hits you how fast time goes by. Everything and everyone around you is subject to change. You realize that you have to take every moment you can to embrace the people around you before you set off to do your own thing.

I love the friends I’ve made throughout grade school and high school. Di ko kayo makakalimutan for sure.

Miscellaneous

Included here are the productive hours (and days) spent doing the following:

  • Cleaning my room
    • Meaning throwing/giving away things I didn’t need and reorganizing my cabinets
  • A lot of watching (TV series, movies, Youtube)
  • Discovering/jamming to old and new music
  • Reading books (The Book Theif, Retired by 40, etc.)
  • Freeing up space on my hard drive, laptop and phone
  • Online window shopping

Yeah, that sums up my 5 month summer. I have a few weeks left until my first day of college, so up until then I’ll be recovering from my 2 month work experience by doing more of the miscellaneous things above.

DLSU’s first day is on September 13— I am so excited to begin again.


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Featured image taken by Cameron Kirby

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