Ah, summertime. No sooner than those warm rays hit do you think, “Wait, how did half the year go by?” If you’re feeling the year flashing by and looking to make the most of the season, look no further. We’ve rounded up a Stanford summer bucket list that will help you perfect your Nerd glasses tan lines and sparkle with conversation all season long, whether you’re vacationing, staycationing or just making the most of the summer mood.

Get some better beach reads

Hit the sand—or your couch — with a great book. Stanford faculty recommend great titles; plus, check out what incoming frosh are reading this summer or a grab the perfect book for your overseas travels.

Put air time to good use

Got a few hours stuffed into seat 36B? Arrive at your destination more informed and with something new to talk about by catching up on the STANFORD magazine stories you missed this year. Read about the women of Stanford who fought for Title IX; or read about racial discrimination in the form of a graphic novel. Find out what happens when you put an architectural genius and an industrial tycoon together (spoiler: conflicts and a certain University); and see what Trees do after they graduate.

Take better photos

Self-improvement is great, but it should be fun and done. (Because #summertime!) So, whether you’re going on the trip of a lifetime or just want to up your photo-a-day game, photographer Joel Simon, ’74, MS ’84, offers tips for taking your photography skills to the next level in just a few minutes.

Binge watch something that will leave you speechless

May we suggest TedX Stanford? The 2017 program included everything from a young Stanford grad using virtual reality to let people plan for and experience their own death to a The Daily Show writer exploring the differences between comedy news and fake news. On another stage, alumni Issa Rae, ’07, and Sterling Brown, ’98, were nominated for Golden Globes this year — Rae for her role in Insecure and Brown for his in People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (he won an Emmy)so if you want to binge watch their shows, that’s cool, too.

Make new friends (and look up old ones)

Positive social relationships can reduce stress, increase happiness and even improve sleep, say School of Medicine researchers. So gather a friend or two and get out for a hike, a lecture or a volunteer opportunity. No local pals available for a summer outing? Your fellow alums are everywhere and you can do awesome stuff with them right now.

Go for a run (we won’t tell if you hop in a fountain)

According to science, running is the fountain of youth. If you’re near campus, you can actually relive the fountains of your youth by taking a route through the Farm. If you prefer to observe the fountains and run with a group that will keep you motivated, try meeting up with the Stanford Running Club.

Soak up some culture

Seek out a museum or event you usually drive past during the year. If you’re near the Farm, you can watch thesis films produced by graduating students in the documentary film program during a June screening open to the public. Summer is also jazz festival time on campus, with performances into early August. And don’t forget Cantor Arts Center and the Cactus Garden.

Learn something just because

Every quarter, online Continuing Studies classes tempt those of us who just can’t resist the siren call to learn something new. Will you pick The Science and Practice of Strengthening Compassion or The History of Wine? Or plan ahead for an autumn quarter class? Whatever course you sign up for, if it’s online, Stanford research suggests that doing this short exercise could help you stick with it once you’ve committed.

If you’ve got to work — and you do — switch up your playlist

Summertime isn’t all fun and games. But you can turn your commute into a vacation for your brain just by listening to something different on the way to work. Stanford programs host many podcasts, from the political to the technological to the heartbreakingly human. We’ve curated a few episodes into a summer sampler that’s perfect for heading into the office every day this week.

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