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The Struggle of Summer

To completely let go during the summer as a student is tempting. Partying, hanging out with friends, visiting pools and beaches, and an array of other classic summer activities seem undeniably more fun than math problems and book reports. Frankly, they probably are. The summer is never as long as we think it is, though, and inevitably you find yourself back in the classroom complaining about rusty skills and amnesia toward simple concepts.

Summer can be fun while also being productive. You can bridge the gap between school years by sacrificing a few small comforts for an immense payoff when summer ends. These five practices will keep you mentally fresh while also allowing flexibility to make as many memories as you can during the freest weeks of the year

1.) Read.

Read. A lot. This is actually a good practice for any time of the year. Reading is by and large a lost norm in a culture dominated by sound bytes and brief clips. The discipline provided by sitting down with an interesting novel, biography, or how-to piece and devoting attention solely to its consumption is critical for a student. Essentially, this is the cornerstone of orthodox academia, so the more this skill is developed, the better off the student will be.

Use the free time you have, unrestrained by guidelines and due dates, to read books you want to read. Learn about what you want to learn about, and enjoy books you choose and find interesting. By developing the discipline and habit of reading by using works you enjoy, you can provide great entertainment while preparing yourself for the reading you will be required to do when fall returns.

2.) Keep a schedule.

“Are you telling me I have to wake up at 6 AM every day? On my summer break?!” No. I am not. I am merely suggesting you keep a simple schedule. The tendency during summer is to completely throw normalcy out of the window as far as time is concerned. Students wake up late and stay up late one day, and reverse the pattern the next. The consistent inconsistency with how their days flow can be mildly disruptive in the moment, but it has larger implications when school returns.

One of two things will happen when this pattern is carried over into the school year. Either the student will maintain an inconsistent schedule year-round, or they will have extreme difficulty adapting to the new routine. The first of these lends to chaos in organization and daily effectiveness. Fatigue does not produce good work. The second can be frustrating and potentially damaging to your health (1).

The solution is to keep a generally consistent and reasonable schedule in the summer. Wake up toward the middle of the morning rather than the middle of the afternoon, and try not to go to bed hours after midnight. By doing so, you can seize more of the day’s prime hours while also staving off the desire to live in a way which hurts down the road.

3.) Accomplish a goal daily.

Laziness steals your sense of purpose. Setting and accomplishing a goal daily keeps your motivation up, even in the lull of the summer months. The goal could be simple or complex, but as long as the function of completion is empowered you will have a heightened energy level and sense of success. This will keep your sense of urgency sharp between school years.

4.) Socialize.

When your peers are out of sight and out of mind, it’s easy to isolate yourself. Academics and the workplace are transforming, and it is more important than ever to have effective communication skills and collaborative capacity. Summer is the perfect time to hone these skills while also enjoying the fun fellowship which comes with time spent with friends.

Seek out old friends, but also remember to meet new people. Broadening your social circle outside of the confines of school can introduce you to new experiences and perspectives which will help you in your academic journey. Socialize, and keep your interpersonal skills sharp.

5.) Relax.

The demands of school are intense. Bearing such a load in perpetuity can incur a significant mental and emotional toll. In the summer, this load is lifted! Remember, above all, to stay safe and enjoy your family and friends. Relax. Make memories. There is more to life than the classroom. Just don’t forget to employ these practices so, when class is once again in session, you can achieve your potential.

 

References:

(1) http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences

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