Staying Productive Over the Summer

University and college students can breathe a sigh of relief: the dreaded month of April is finally over. With cumulative assignments and exams behind us, post-secondary pressures have let up—for the time being, anyways. For students on break, it will naturally be tempting to lie around and relax all summer. On the other hand, there are far more useful ways to spend the time between May and September.

Here are a few things that all university and college students should consider doing over their summer break:

Find a summer job. Having a steady income over the summer will help you cover back-to-school expenses, and landing summer work can also give you a head start on paying off your student loans. While browsing the job boards, you will find that many companies hire for temporary positions that cater specifically to post-secondary students on summer break. The quantity and variety of opportunities for students is really quite encouraging.

Take a class or two. Even if you’re on track to graduate on schedule, summer classes can be a great way to get a leg up in your program. Taking a class that counts towards your major or minor could come in handy later on. For example, if a required course fills up quicker than anticipated and you can’t register, you may end up being saved by that extra half-credit you decided to take over the summer. Also, if you end up dropping a class for whatever reason, you may find yourself grateful that summer classes were—and still are—available to you.

Do some travelling. Take at least one vacation to someplace nice. If money is an issue, visit where you have family who will let you stay with them, or even a friend that will let you crash on their couch for a couple of nights. Another way to conserve funds is simply to venture somewhere close by—a neighboring city or town instead of a whole other province or country. The point is, it’s important to get out of your hometown once in a while for a breath of fresh air and a change of perspective.

Do some reading. On top of magazines and other forms of brain candy, give yourself regular doses of fiction and non-fiction as well. You don’t have to worry about class readings anymore, but it’s still important to exercise your brain on a regular basis!

Another advantage of keeping busy over the summer is a smoother transition between summer break and the start of classes in the fall. You’ll keep your momentum going, so to speak, instead of being suddenly thrust from lax comfort into busy student life. I’ve experienced both types of summer break—the lazy summer and the productive summer—and I can honestly say that the latter is considerably more rewarding.

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