3 Tips for Staying Sharp During the Summer

For most of us, summer is a gladly welcomed break from the hecticness of academia and extra-curriculars. While a job or internship may be in store for some, others have those few glorious months entirely to themselves. But either way, working or not, our habits and routines change as soon as finals end.

Although switching things up can sometimes be a good thing, here are three things academic-year habits you should keep in place throughout the summer months:

1. Learn something new every day

During the school year, most of us learn something new everyday. Whether it’s the correct form of a conjugated subjunctive verb in Spanish, how to advertise for an event you’re sponsoring, or that everything you learned in middle school about Christopher Columbus was a lie, school is – believe it or not – actually a place where you learn more things than you can imagine.

Yva Lady reading newspaper c1932
Source: Wiki Commons by Villa Grisebach
So what happens when it all suddenly stops? Sure, there are some things you only learn through personal life experiences or from a higher up at your internship. But, regardless, the magnitude of information thrown at you each day is severely depleted from the level it’s at from August to May.

My advice to you is advice that I received at my internship last year: Read at least two news articles a day. If you do this already, great! If not, subscribe to the New York Times or head to CNN.com, BBC.com, or any comparable site and get reading. You can learn a lot about things – from the European Union to Google’s latest ventures – simply by taking 10 minutes out of your day to read about what’s going on in the world. And, plus: The facts you learn will prove to be impressive conversation starters.

2. Keep track of things

During the school year, most keep some sort of assignment book or planner. But why do a majority of students pack it away as soon as it’s warm outside?

Whether or not you have homework assignments, it’s important to stay on top of what’s going on in your life, and a daily planner is a great way to do that. Keep track of doctors appointments, birthdays, and daily to-dos (for example, “Read 2 articles today” – check!)

Sure, sure, I suppose this could all be done on a phone. Call me old fashion, but I think keeping a planner is the more mature thing to do. Moreover, something feels more important when you see it written in your own handwriting; another random notification on your phone amidst the text and email beeps may not truly get your attention.

3. Maintain some semblance of a sleep schedule

For those with an internship, it’s understood that you may hardly be sleeping at all, depending on what you’re doing. Nevertheless, no matter what you’re doing this summer it’s wise to maintain a sort of schedule. When you sleep – no to mention for how long – is a huge part of your day to day life, affecting nearly everything else you do. Obviously, it’s recommended to get about 8 hours of sleep each night; if you cant swing that, at least try to come close. But no matter when and for how long you sleep, do your best to keep it consistent. During the school year our class schedules (hopefully) do this for us, and it’s good for your body and brain to get into a routine. So keep it up during the summer; when you’re well rested, you’re an all-around better and healthier person!

Have any other tips for those long summer months? Share your ideas below!

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