Whether you’re a freshman in college or a graduating senior, it’s never too late to discover new inspirations in life. As the semester comes to an end, I think it’s safe to say that most of us are feeling drained, tired and ready for summer. With almost four months off from school, summer break is the quintessential time to try new things and do some soul-searching. If you’re like me and are looking to get in touch with your creative side, then here are ten things you can do for inspiration.
In addition to attentively observing the work in front of you, make sure to bring a sketchbook to record what you see. When I say “sketch,” I mean in a stream-of-conscious sort of way. Quick sketches are best – everything that you draw will become a memento of your visit and will give you something to refer back to.
3. Try your hand at photography: Sometimes it takes visiting a foreign country with beautiful architecture to realize that you have a knack for photography. When you’ve lived in the same place your entire life, it’s easy to take for granted the natural beauty that surrounds you on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. The next time you have some free time, go outside and snap pictures of anything that catches your eye. Focus on creating interesting compositions, using extreme close-up shots and utilizing unique angles.
4. Take a class outside of your major: You have four years (give or take a semester or two) to take classes that will enrich, inspire and cause you to think outside of the box. That said, be sure to make every class count. Peruse your school’s course catalog and find a class that intrigues you. Ask friends for suggestions on classes and professors that have left a profound impact on them. One inspirational class can really make all the difference!
5. Study abroad: Maybe it won’t be this summer or next semester, but at some point during your college career, make it a point to study abroad. Although it’s expensive and sometimes difficult to find a study abroad program that will fit your studies (and schedule), this is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. When you do go abroad, don’t take any second for granted. Absorb the wonderful architecture, take hundreds (maybe even thousands) of pictures, learn the language and become immersed in their culture.
6. Be a novelist – creative writing feeds the soul: This semester, I’m taking a creative writing fiction class and I absolutely love it. Coming up with clever and original storylines, developing well-rounded characters and adding some twists along the way challenges me to think and write in a way that is unfamiliar to me.
If you’re used to a journalistic style of writing (like I am), then I can’t think of a better way to free up your writing style. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll even publish a book!
7. Start a journal or sketchbook: Journaling can do wonders in the inspiration/creativity department. When I say journaling, I don’t mean that you have to start each entry with “dear diary…” There is no right or wrong way to maintain a journal; it’s an organic process that is a reflection of who you are and how you think. The same holds true for sketchbooks!
It’s important to select a journal or sketchbook that exudes your personal taste. Personally, I swear by Moleskine notebooks and sketchpads. They’re a bit on the pricey side, but so worth it!
Take a trip to Barnes and Noble and peruse their collection of journals and sketchbooks until you find one that clicks. Some questions to ask yourself when shopping: Do you want one that has a leather cover or do you prefer something with a zany design? How about the shape and color? Keep your journal or sketchbook with you at all times so that when you have a sudden bout of inspiration you will be ready!
8. Open a Pinterest account, Tumblr, or start a blog: I’m a firm believer that Pinterest and Tumblr (or any blogging platform for that matter) are great ways to gather and share your inspirations. Since opening a Pinterest account, I’ve come across some pinners who have really honed their craft and pin in a manner that is artistic, unique and inspiring (check out Refinery 29’s “Pinner of the Day” for ideas on how to make your Pinboards stand out). Whenever you’re feeling uninspired, take a look at your pinboards or blog to reinvigorate your creativity!
9. Make a collage or inspiration book: If Pinterest and Tumblr aren’t cutting it for you, then do it the old-fashioned way. Get started by visiting Michaels and invest in a scrapbook and/or poster boards. Then, gather your favorite magazine clippings, photos, ticket stubs, or anything else that is of interest to you. Not only will your collage or inspiration board serve as a reminder of where you’ve been, but it will also give you inspiration in the future.
10. Do something that’s outside of your comfort zone: Everyone is inspired by different things. Maybe you have hobbies or interests you haven’t explored since high school (or even grade school). Or perhaps there are things you’ve always wanted to do but have never had time to pursue. The point is, if you never try, you’ll never know what you’re missing out on!