Summer is officially here! Graduation is over and already the UHMC campus is beginning to appear empty. After a full and busy semester, it can be tempting to fall into a Netflix-induced stupor, and although that’s not a terrible way to reward yourself for hours of sweat and tears, there are more important things that college students should be doing with their time to make the most out of their summers. Without the normal structure of classes, homework, and research it can be easy to drop the good habits that carry us through the semester. Let’s dig in and explore some of the ways we can keep our minds fresh and organized for the coming semester!
Take a summer class.
This won’t be a practical option for everyone, as summer classes tend to be more expensive than those in the spring or fall. The classes are also condensed into four or five weeks, resulting in a heavier load of homework and reading. For example, Paul Thornton is teaching “Survey of Psychology” this summer, beginning on July 8th and ending on August 9th. For some people, it’s worth it to do more work in a shorter period of time than to do less work for a longer period of time. It helps to stay on-track to graduate without overwhelming one’s schedule with too many classes during the spring and summer semesters. Perhaps most importantly, taking a summer class can help students stay focused on their goals. A purpose is easy to lose sight of, if not consistently and positively fed.
Summer Internship/Volunteer Work
Living in one of the most expensive places in the United States, most UHMC students are likely employed. Still, summer break offers a respite from packed schedules, late night study sessions, and last-minute cramming: a welcome change for any student. A great way to spend this extra time is through a summer internship. Internships provide excellent opportunities for hands-on learning and a chance to apply what has been taught in the classroom in the actual field. Future employers will view the work as proof of dedication and recognize the extra experience internships come with. Spending some time in the field before earning a degree often clarifies for a student specifically what areas they would or wouldn’t enjoy working in.
Get Prepared Early for the Upcoming Semester
If the week before a new semester begins is stressful, then the starting week is chaotic. First-time students rush to make it to class on-time, the line in the bookshop reaches the door, and students show up to class without even a pen to sign their syllabus. Use your summer hours wisely to help ease the transition back into school after a lengthy break. Start preparations at the beginning of August by purchasing school supplies and textbooks. Many teachers don’t announce what books they will use until after their first class, but the bookshop can help! If the staff is presented with a student’s class list, he will gather all the books needed for the semester and inform the student if they have the option to rent or purchase. Further, the bookshop is stocked with most, if not all, the school supplies every student needs to start off the semester prepared. From backpacks to notebooks and pencils to pencil holders, the bookshop is a convenient one-stop-shop.
R & R
My favorite useful thing to do! Commonly known as “Rest and Relaxation” (but coming off a tough semester it could probably also be known as “Recovery and Recuperation.”), R&R is important for mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It is just as important to practice self-care as it is to stay educated and motivated, in any field of study. In fact, some may argue that it takes precedent over work or class and is a key factor to living a balanced life. Ever heard of the Pay Yourself First method? It applies to budgeting, and suggests that each month before paying any bills, one should “pay themselves first” through putting money into savings, a 401k plan, or the like. This same idea can be used in the way of self-care: make it a priority to get a full night of sleep, eat three solid meals a day, and schedule recreational activities. With the time left, schedule work, classes, homework, and various commitments. The time spent at class or work will be more enjoyable and individuals may find themselves more present in their daily activities.
Summer is here! Great job to everyone who made it through the semester and a big congrats on all those who earned their degree this year! Have a fun, safe, and productive summer.