07/06/2013 02:05 pm ET Updated Sep 05, 2013

My Summer Bucket List

Even though I live in Arizona, where the months from June to August are scorching hot with triple degree forecasts, summer is my absolute favorite season. I've always seen summer as the time to make changes, go on adventures, and do things outside of your comfort zone. While you can technically be daring and adventurous any time you want, summer has always just felt like the right time to be a little more spontaneous and little less scared. We're quite a few weeks into summer 2013, and I'm getting the feeling that this will be a summer for the books.

For several years, I've made a summer bucket list, like a lot of teenagers do. These bucket lists are usually pages long with activities ranging from hanging out at a drive-in movie to going night-swimming to getting a summer job. I'm a compulsive list-maker so of course, I love summer bucket lists. This whole list-making exercise seems like it would contradict my first point about summer being free and wild and exciting. But I look at summer bucket lists as motivation. I see them as a way to ensure that I try new things and don't fall into a routine. As a way to stop myself from wasting my entire summer watching movies and pigging out (Inevitably, a good chunk of my time will be spent doing this, but I will venture outside my apartment!). And, as a way to make this summer memorable and as cliché as this sounds, maybe even life-changing.

It's easy to not know how to spend all this glorious free time. Do you let yourself be lazy and take a total break? Or, do you become an adrenaline junkie and try new things as often as possible? Do you try to balance these two opposite ends of the spectrum? The truth is summer is the one season where you can really have control; it is your season. You're not tied down to as many requirements as you are during the school year, and you have these three months of freedom. And, with all this free time and all these options, deciding what you want to get out of this summer and making tangible goals is beyond helpful. Do you want to spend time exploring your hometown? Make a bucket list with places to go to! Do you want to go to as many midnight premieres as possible? Write down the dates for all of them! I am a big believer in writing your goals down and making your wants and desires tangible instead of keeping them bottled up. While I understand that not everyone wants to plan things out, I think it's the only way to get things done. Making a summer bucket list enables you to think about what you want to spend your time doing and why.

Even if you're not a list-lover like me, you should still give writing a summer bucket list a chance. Your list could be silly or serious, vague or very specific; it's completely up to you! Below, I have put a few random activities from my Summer 2013 Bucket List to give you a glimpse of what I hope to do this summer season!

1. Read 10 good books
2. Make healthier choices!
3. Learn more about Tucson, AZ (a.k.a. my home away from home for the next three years)
4. Motivate the students I tutor!
5. Gain more confidence in my goals
6. Pick up some new hobbies
7. Be open to adventure!

Do you make summer bucket lists? Or, do you just go with the flow? Let me know in the comments below!