You’ve finished your finals, packed up your dorm room, and drove off into the sunset (or down the street if you live close to your school).
After nine months of late night study sessions and endless lectures, you probably feel like doing nothing that requires an ounce of brain activity for the next few months.
I can’t blame you for that!
But as great as it might seem to veg out on the couch day after day all summer, the truth is that there are much better things you could be doing to not only get your head back in the right place, but to prepare for the next school year as well.
Here are some of my top college student tips for making the most of your summer break:
Plan an Enjoyable Trip or Activity
You deserve some time to de-stress and do something you enjoy.
While some college students are great at getting away during the summer, others feel like they can’t get away due to a lack of funds.
Thankfully, there are plenty of low-cost and free options to choose from!
For example, you could meet up with friends to play sand volleyball or flag football at a local park every week. You could even plan a day trip to a nearby lake or beach to soak up some rays and BBQ!
Apply for Upcoming Internships
If you plan on participating in an internship next school year, you’ll probably want to start looking at companies accepting internships and when the applications are due.
Since the field can be competitive, some companies complete their application process months out so they have time to process everything and interview their top candidates.
If you’re not at the point where you’re ready to apply for an internship, it would be great to substitute this step for resume and cover letter development!
Volunteering is one of the best ways to get work experience (and potential references) without committing a ton of time.
With so many different organizations and positions to choose from, the odds are good that you’ll be able to find something that not only fits your interests, but your schedule as well.
Get Into a Routine
During the school year, you probably got yourself into some sort of routine by going to classes, activities, etc.
Unfortunately, summers make it all too tempting to fall out of a routine, and that could create trouble when you have to go back to school in the fall.
Essentially, you want to set up a comfortable wake up time and bedtime each day to help keep your body on a consistent schedule. Don’t worry – you can still have those late weekend nights!
Even if you work on creating a consistent schedule over the last month of summer break, you’ll have a much easier time adjusting when you go back to school. My pro tip would be to start matching your wake up times and bedtimes to what they’ll be like during school about a month before you go back.
So, if I had a 9 a.m. class, I might want to start waking up at 7:30 a.m. and going to bed at 11 p.m. each day. To prepare my body for this schedule, I’ll start going to bed at 11 and waking up at 7:30 Monday-Friday for the last few weeks of the summer.
I know this helped me A TON and I found that I had a much easier time getting into the groove of school when I used this approach.
Meet Up With Friends and Family
If you went to a school far away from family and friends, odds are that you have some catching up to do! Take some time to schedule lunch and dinner dates or trips to see your loved ones so that you can catch them up on all your school year excitement and find out what has been going on in their lives as well.
Start a Savings Plan
Summers can be a serious budget killer, especially when you are getting invited to go out left and right.
To help keep yourself on track, start making a weekly and/or monthly budget so that you know exactly how much money you have to spend. This is a great skill to learn and will be a major help when you graduate and enter the real world.
Here’s a free college student budget template to help you out!
Reflect, Adjust, and Conquer
We all have improvements to make and I’m sure you noticed a few things throughout the school year that didn’t necessarily work in your favor (*clears throat* pulling an all-nighter so you could cram for an exam).
Take some time to reflect on those things that didn’t work (try coming up with at least three), write them down, and then problem solve some solutions that you could try next semester.
If it helps, you might want to make this into a chart or some type of visual that you can bring with you back to campus. Try posting it on a wall near or desk or somewhere that you’ll see frequently. The constant reminder should help you to adjust your habits and conquer the setbacks you faced!
And Finally, Have Fun!
I know it goes without saying, but sometimes we get so caught up in our busy lives that we let the time fly by without actually do things that we enjoy.
If you’re a visual person, try creating a summer bucket list! If you have a lot of people you want to hang out with during your break, try finding a buddy for each activity. This is a great way to catch up AND have fun all at the same time!
What are some your favorite ways to spend summer break?