BY MELISSA BURNS
Summer is awesome: there is the sun, lots of free time, a bunch of opportunities to pursue and no studies to keep you busy. However, after a year of cramming your textbooks and hectic exams, it may be a little too awesome, and many students tend to get too much into the spirit of the things. So, if you don’t want to suddenly discover that the new academic year started a week ago, you barely remember what you did in the summer and have a raging hangover to boot, make sure you do the following to keep yourself on track:
1. Prepare a Plan
Summer is one of those rare times when you have an impressive chunk of uninterrupted free time. At first, it may seem like a lot, but don’t let this impression fool you – if you go with the flow, it will be over before you know it. If you want to achieve any goals this summer, prepare a plan: list the things you want to do, consider which of them can realistically fit into this timespan, what can be done alongside one another. If you have a few goals, allot time to each of them and set deadlines – it will help you keep track of how well you follow your own plan.
2. Stick to a Regular Schedule
Yes, we understand that few students can boast of having a schedule and sticking to it, but in summer most of us tend to lose any semblance of keeping regular hours. We stay up late, sleep in, go to parties, work random shifts and do all kinds of nasty things to our biological clock. It may be fun for a while, in a chaotic sense, but getting used to the more regular lifestyle, later on, is going to be a living hell – and we don’t even mention the accompanying stress and other health risks.
If you want to meet the new semester being at your best, make sure you sleep enough, have a comfortable place (to get the most of every hour of sleep), get up and turn in at the same time every day and don’t fall to temptation of catching up on your sleep after having a night out.
3. Don’t Stop Learning
If you don’t have to attend classes, it doesn’t mean that you should stop improving yourself. Signing up for an online course you’ve always wanted to take but didn’t have enough time to will allow you to acquire skills and knowledge from outside the scope of your college education while keeping you disciplined throughout summer. When the next semester starts, you will just seamlessly move into it instead of going through a painful re-acclimatization to studies like the rest of your class. If you have learning projects from college, spread them evenly across the vacation.
4. Replace Some Usual Summer Foods
We don’t mean to say that you should not eat anything but millet and celery – that would be the too cruel thing to do to yourself during the season of barbecue and ice cream. However, replacing some of the summer foods with their healthier alternatives at least part of the time will be a good idea for both your waistline and your general health. At the end of summer, you should be fitter and healthier than at the beginning, not the other way around!
And last but not the least – don’t forget to relax, unwind and recharge. Staying in the groove doesn’t mean all work and no play – you should maintain balance, and it will help you start the next semester ready to take on the world.
Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org