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While the summer months mostly stir up images of lounging around a pool or taking a vacation to the beach, you shouldn’t let your mind completely space out during the few months you have off of school.

Even though you’re not taking classes, you’ve got to actively engage your brain so that you are still learning over your break. Not only will you be more likely to adjust once classes start back up, but you’ll be able to confidently say that you had a productive summer.

Although some of you may just be doing summer jobs just to make money that don’t really challenge you intellectually (trust me, I’ve been there), you should still be able to find acitivities that will keep your brain engaged and will help you look toward the future.

Although this may seem like a nerdy concept to wrap your mind around, hear me out!

1. Set on Graduate School?

If you know you eventually want to head to graduate school – be it law school or medical school or any other type of post-graduate program – it’s never to early to crack open a book and start studying. Think of this as your opportunity to focus solely on preparing for the test you have glaring at you down the road. It doesn’t hurt to read through a prep textbook and take a few practice tests to gauge where you are. If you find you’re not doing very well, you might want to consider taking a class (which could be another productive way to spend your summer, if you wish).

2. Read All You Can About Your Field.

You can never stop learning – we are all going to be students in this game of life for the rest of our existence – there’s no fighting that. So why not start now? Learn more about the career you’re hoping to get into by reading as much as you can. Follow some industry professionals on Twitter or subscribe to them on Facebook if you want to have their knowledge flow easily into your everday life. Read what they have to say – read the articles the link to – and you’ll be surprised by how much you learn even in just a week.

3. Volunteer or Freelance.

If you have the opportunity to volunteer or freelance in your field, grab this opportunity by the horns! Even if you can only do it part time (since you actually have to make money), it’s still something you can add to your resume that will give you invaluable experience you won’t get by reading a textbook.

4. Try Something New.

Get out of your comfort zone. Listen to new music, read new books, browse new magazines – expose yourself to the big world around you. Even if you can’t afford to take a trip, discover the resources available to you inside your city. You’ll be surprised by how much you learn. When you learn about new things, it opens up your worldview, which helps you use your brain. Mix up your schedule and see where it takes you!

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