Exploring England from the Lake District up north and down to London, late night drives with the windows down and ending up at IHOP (I refuse to refer to it as IHOB) with my friends, and making those last summer memories as the college years approach basically sums up my summer after High school.

Listening to uplifting podcasts on my commute, reading motivational and spiritual books about self transformation, and spending hours at my local Starbucks applying to jobs and creating personal projects basically sums up my summer after college.

Being that I just graduated from college and for some reason being really in tune with my feelings, I decided to reflect on my summer(s).

This read is going to be a cocktail of content. My summer reflection, my music playlists, and what I look forward to accomplishing in these upcoming months… this post is going to have it all.


What is absolutely crazy to me is that my life is no longer going to pause for school. All throughout college, I had my home life where I worked retail jobs which only lasted for that break, stayed with my family, and had no worries as I hung out with my friends. Then, I had my school life where I went to classes, worked jobs that helped me develop my skills, and lived with my friends. That separation no longer exists.

I can make my own schedule now. I can choose what days to spend in a coffee shop doing work. I can work a full day and then go to Happy Hour with my friends, which is incredible because I never thought I’d be at the point in my life where I went to Happy Hour after work– it was such an adult concept to me. I graduated over a month ago and I’m still having trouble wrapping around my head that I don’t have to leave a job because I have to go back to college. Instead of taking classes for Gen Eds, I can create my own projects, read for my personal growth and pleasure, and learn about things I want to explore more of. This is my life now.

I also got to thinking how different my life was four years ago. Four years ago around this time, I had gone to prom with my best friends, graduated from High school, and hopping on a plane to England… when I came back from England, it was all about working a job I knew that was going to end when August came around and late night adventures with my friends. The feeling of invincibility I felt back then of being young and free has been incomparable. The only thing that is the same this summer is that the FIFA World Cup is happening. While I was in this state of mind of reflecting and reliving the past, I realized I didn’t have to long for the adventures that had already happened. I could carry that sense of adventure and being present in the moment into this summer, but in a different way. Now, this is where the “what I have learned so far” part comes in.


create your own adventure

The feeling of young invincibility… of course it’s not going to be the same. I’m not 17 anymore. I’ve grown as a person since going through college. But when did I feel the most alive? When I was with my friends, when I was traveling and going on spontaneous adventures, driving with the windows down and singing along to music. That all can still happen now. I can still drive with the windows down and blast my music, I can go on my own adventures (and now, my mother won’t expect me home at a certain time and I can go farther than before).

Find the events happening in the city. Pick a city, beach, or town, get in a car and just go. Get friends together and have the time of your lives because all we have is the present moment.

put yourself out there

You gotta put yourself out there. I know this is super hard. There are so many books out there that put this better than I can (I’ll have a list below), but I’ve made so many new connections and I’m doing what I love now because I simply put myself out there. Not going to lie, this is still difficult for me to do. But sometimes, you have to jump without thinking because who knows what opportunities can come from it.

Two weeks ago, I got to work with a local band and film at Rock the River in Fredericksburg. This all started when I reached out to a local brewery in March, filmed at the St. Patrick’s Day festival, and started making connections. I’ve made a few videos and met many incredible, talented people since then. Even since Rock the River, I have been offered many opportunities to learn more about videography. But further, the thought of talking with people, being at an event where I didn’t know more than two people, and actually introducing myself to people had terrified me before. Now, going up to people is a little less freaky. I’m a little less anxious to go up to a person managing production, fellow videographer, photographer, or business person and be like “hey, my name is Stefanie and I love making videos” (of course with a more professional twist). The worst they can say “I’m sorry, I’m not interested” and not partner with me. The best thing they can do is refer me to other businesses or partner with me. I am motivated by the later.

All I’m trying to say is, put yourself out there, do stuff that push your comfort zone at least a little bit. Be motivated by the chance that a solid relationship can unfold or a new project can begin.

*books that say what I was trying to say better than I did-
  1. “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. “Sacred Powers” by David Ji
take time for yourself / take care of yourself

Take time daily to have moments to yourself. It’s essential for your wellbeing. Be selfish with your time.  Here’s a list of suggestions:

  1. Draw a bath and just take the time to clear your head, read, watch Gossip Girl (this is substitutable), and have a glass of wine (this is optional)
  2. Meditate and do yoga
  3. Workout
  4. Read a book for yourself
  5. Journal
  6. Watch YouTube videos or Netflix
  7. Spend time talking and hanging out with the people you love whether it’d be family, significant other, friends, or pets.
  8. Watch the sunset
  9. Go for a drive
  10. Really enjoy your cup of coffee and focus on each sip.
  11. Cook a meal


The perfect playlist is like the soundtrack to your life at that time.

These are my summer playlists from summer after High school to this summer… excluding summer 2017. I’m not quite sure what happened to that playlist.

Side note: I find it funny that I was listening to 5 Seconds of Summer the summer after High school and I’m still listening to them the summer after college. But, I have grown and changed as their sound has changed through the years.

summer 2018: mix of rock and light pop edm vibes

summer after high school (’14): definitely more pop vibes

summer twenty fifteen: mainstream pop music mixed with some country

summer twenty sixteen: this is just a dump of different music


I’m going to end this post with my summer bucketlist!

  1. Enjoy the outdoors~ river days, lake days, beach days, boat days, hiking days…
  2. Go on a boat ride (I just really miss the water now that I’m not on the rowing team)
  3. Explore a new place (goes with #4)
  4. Have a solo trip~ I’m thinking either Cape Charles or Hilton Head.
  5. Do yoga in the park
  6. Go to events in the city
  7. Get a tarot reading
  8. Make tacos
  9. Make chili
  10. Movie day in a blanket/pillow fort
  11. Find my own place to live
  12. Try new breweries, cafes, and restaurant


While the post graduation life is still a little stressful, this summer has been absolutely wonderful. I’m filming, editing videos, going on mini adventures, doing yoga in the park, and surrounded by good people.

The summer holds so much potential! Put on some music, get some sun, and create your adventure.

Here’s to warm weather and good times! ☀


June 22, 2018