As all of you in Summer School have realized, cramming a semesters worth of information into five weeks makes the class seem more hectic than normal. Seeing pictures of family and friends out enjoying the summer at the beach, lake, or basically anywhere but school can add on to the stress you might be feeling. It is important not to let stress overwhelm you during the summer. Stress can not only affect your performance in school, but is a major health risk factor. So what can you do to lessen and relieve the stress of Summer School?
You already know when you are going to be in class each day; you should also plan out when you are going to do work for that class. All classes are not equal; some classes only require an hour or two outside of class each week, while others take an extra 10-15. If you plan accordingly for each class and keep to the schedule you shouldn’t find yourself cramming the night before an exam or pulling an all-nighter because you waited until the last day to write a 10-page paper. Falling behind a class normally can be very worrisome, in the summer it can almost feel detrimental. Doing work daily for classes, even when none is assigned can put you ahead of the curve for these fast paced classes. I know the prospect of setting aside a block of time each day for the sole purpose of doing classwork doesn’t sound too appealing, but once you get into the habit of doing so the benefits will prove themselves to be worth the trouble.
While it may seem kind of obvious, some people may forget to plan in breaks. Don’t make your schedule CLASS, CLASS, WORK, WORK, or you will drain yourself every day and may not have energy to do other things afterwards that you may want to do – like playing basketball, working out, reading a book for leisure, or just watching some TV. Schedule a break in between sessions to give your mind some time to rest up for the next class or work session. In my first summer session I had a break scheduled in after my first class and went over to the music building to play some piano before my next class would begin, or over to the library to catch up on some reading. Some days this break was even used for a little powernap. No matter how I used them, these little breaks really made a difference in my next class.
Set Aside Time for Fun
While you are first and foremost in school over the summer doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the good parts of summer as well. Being out in Greenville, you are not too far away from the beach to go out and enjoy a weekend, or even just a day enjoying the sun, sand, and sea. Even if you don’t make it out to the beach you can still make it to a pool if you are in the mood for swimming. Throughout June and July Greenville also hosts Sundays in the Park, a series of free concerts at Greenville Toyota Amphitheatre with a wide variety of artists scheduled in the summer. Even if these ideas aren’t your cup of tea, plan something a little more your style. Give yourself something to look forward to. If the only thing you see in front of you all summer long is class after class, day after day, you can find yourself drained of energy, enthusiasm, and personality. Giving yourself something to look forward to can reenergize you, especially the closer it gets – the feeling of “Nothing can bring me down today, I’m going to the beach tomorrow!” (Insert a happy dance here if you want to). Summer school doesn’t have to completely rob you of your summer, so don’t let it.
Mike Doherty recently wrote a post about the students relaxing this summer where he encourages them to learn a new skill, but the same advice can be applied here. Set aside time to learn something you want to learn. If you have wanted to learn a new skill, set aside a little time to learn the new skill, whether it’s JAVA, an instrument, or a new language, give yourself some time to do it. You can also give yourself a challenge for the summer. Doing a workout like Insanity or P90X is challenging but it is really rewarding when all is said and done. Even if your goal is to finish a video game, puzzle, or any other little project you may have going, giving yourself something to work towards outside of class can really help maintain sanity throughout the summer.
Summer school is tough and there is no question about that, but there are ways to beat the scholastic heat and keep level headed throughout these sessions. The main idea is to not let school be the only thing you live for over the summer. It is still very important to work and study hard for your classes, but give yourself a life outside of school and summer will still be worth looking forward to every year.