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Tips to Having a Productive Summer

Valerie Chang

By Guest Blogger Valerie Chang

For many of us, one word has been buzzing in our minds during these past couple of weeks:



With the hardest part still yet to come: finals, projects, and papers, summer is the light at the end of the tunnel.  Thoughts of going to the beach, sunbathing, and eating ice cream everyday seem like heaven. However, for nearly everyone, summer isn’t like that every day. Some of you have an internship, research position, or summer job lined up that you are looking forward to, but for many of us, we are still clueless as to what to do this summer.

What’s so great about summer is that it’s a 14 weeks period where you can do LITERALLY anything you want!  From catching up on books you’ve been meaning to read or hanging out with friends, here are some ideas to have a productive and enjoyable summer:

1)     Improve on general skills you have always been meaning to work on.  Whether it’s public speaking or becoming a better writer, summer is a great time to start improving on it without classes to distract you.

2)     Get ahead in classes for the following year. The quarter system is extremely quick and unforgiving.  For many, going over material for the first time in just 10 weeks can be overwhelming and too much to handle.  Getting a preview or exposing yourself to topics you know you will have to take will make the following school year flow that much more smoothly.  And with every test and assignment you’ll just be like:

 Guy yelling "Nailed It"

3)     Volunteer/dig deep in a side project that could align with your career interests. Ranging anywhere from teaching kids a new language to building a mobile app, volunteer work and side projects are a great way to spend a summer. Some of us may know the area we want to study or what field to pursue, but for others, some are still not sure what to choose from.  Regardless of which one you are, working on a project or volunteering for the summer can be beneficial for both.  Working on a project or volunteering could really help you understand whether or not you want to pursue something similar to it in the future.  Plus, come the following year, employers will be impressed that you were motivated to work on something in your spare time.

4)     Travel. While this may not seem “productive” in the regular sense, traveling to different countries can really help you learn and expose you to different cultures. Once you enter the work force, it can be really hard to find a gap of a couple months to go adventuring.

5)     Start a blog. Taking time to write about how your week or day has been can really help reflect and evaluate what you have been doing this summer and what adjustments or changes you think you need to make during the summer.


Figuring out what to do over the summer is only half the battle!  Because many of us are procrastinators and tend to only get work done when a deadline is approaching, staying motivated during the summer requires even more effort and work.  Here are some tips to staying productive:

1)     Set a routine. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of relaxing the first couple of weeks during summer and falling into a slump the couple of months after.  It is definitely okay to rest up for a week after all the stress of finals and the school year, but it is important to set a schedule and plan to figure out what to do soon after.  Set consistent times everyday to complete daily tasks such as exercising, showering, when to wake up and go to bed. Designate certain hours during the day to work, and have fun other times.  That way you don’t feel stress all of summer thinking you could be doing more work.  Having a routine schedule increases the chances of being more likely to be productive and to not fall into a slump.

2)    Set small goals throughout the summer. Make sure to set check points throughout the summer so you can evaluate whether or not you are getting enough work done.  If you need help reaching them throughout the summer, there’s no shame in asking a parent or a close friend to help you meet these goals.

Remember, summer is what you make of it.  It really requires you to motivate yourself to see what you can accomplish.  But most importantly, remember TO NOT STRESS OUT!  Summer is meant to be a time to unwind and relax.  So it is definitely important to designate some time to that.

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