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5 Tips for Staying Focused During Summer Break

Authored By: 
Maren Holmen, Academic Liaison

It's summer again—a long-awaited time of rest for many students, time to have fun, explore, travel or dedicate yourself to a new or an old hobby. Who doesn’t want that? As we’ve said in the past, we all need a break, and we probably deserve it.

However, long summer vacations could also make you forget a lot of what you’ve learned over the past school year. And we value the time and effort you’ve put during that time, so we’ve come up with the following five tactics to help you stay focused, avoid summer learning loss, and get ahead with your future goals.

Beat procrastination. It’s human nature to tend to put off what we should be focusing on right now instead of starting on time and stretching the work out over a longer period. But it’s not recommended. This is something teachers tell their students constantly: it is better to do work little by little over multiple days than to cram it all into one marathon session. Regardless of your objective—whether it's learning a new language, studying for a major exam, or choosing colleges—you will be far more successful breaking the task down than getting it all done under pressure.

Read. Create a summer reading list, or ask your teacher for recommendations. English writer Joseph Addison once said: “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Reading develops the imagination, improves memory, and stimulates the long-term health of your brain. Read daily. Choose a quiet area outside, find a bench, or spread your blanket and enjoy!

Create a routine. Make a list of goals and set up an agenda that helps you accomplish them. Setting a fixed schedule where work is a regular part of the day (like meals and other activities) will help you stay organized and motivated and will teach you essential time management skills. For example, look at your calendar in advance of your vacation to determine when there are 30-60 minute stretches of quiet time that can be used for school work. 

Ask teachers for extra work. Whether you want to catch up in a certain subject or you simply find a particular subject area especially interesting and want to excel in it, you can ask your teacher for additional resources. Most teachers have worksheets that review material they’ve covered in their classes or can point you to the right workbooks or online resources. Summer work packets get assigned for a reason--it's easier to do a little bit to keep material fresh in your mind than it is to forget it and have to relearn it all from scratch in the fall.

Leave plenty of time for fun. At the end of the day, don’t forget that this is supposed to be a vacation. Allowing yourself to relax and enjoy this time will help you come back more focused and more productive. Just make sure you stay on track with your goals and integrate productive periods into your daily schedule so you can remain focused and retain all the knowledge you’ve gained over the past year. Happy Summer!

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