With final exams just around the corner, many students may be dreaming of summer vacation, a time when the stress of college melts away and students can rest and recover from the struggles of the school year.
In between study sessions, many students have been daydreaming about their own vacation plans and summer goals. If you are in need of some inspiration, these students have got you covered.
One student is going to spend his summer in his own backyard. Steven Peralta (junior, Criminal Justice, Psychology) is planning to start a summer garden during his vacation time. In addition to gardening, Peralta plans to, “Continue to practice yoga and stretching. Sitting on Zoom all day can cause our bodies to become stiff and rigid. It is important to stretch and release the tension we build in our bodies throughout the day.”
Like Peralta, Antonio Garcia (junor, Spanish) is also planning to have an active summer outdoors. Garcia plans to go to the beach, hike some trails, and go rafting. Garcia explains that he is excited to spend some more time in nature after being stuck in front of a screen for so many months. “I do think it’s the time to go outdoors and reconnect with nature and what we have only been able to enjoy through screens,” says Garcia.
While many students are taking the summer to relax, some are planning to use the time to continue to work. Marcus Ruddicks (senior, Economics) is spending his summer preparing for his next steps in life. “My number one goal really is just to find a relevant job (or even an internship) over the summer. I'm planning on attending grad school in the fall, and I'd like to have a plan in place to pay for it while getting work experience at the same time.”
Although he is taking his summer to work, Ruddicks explains that he still believes relaxation is an important part of the summer months. “I definitely think it's important to relax during summer break. I always start to feel burnt out by the end of the semester, and I don't think it's healthy to stay that way. I need to unwind at least a bit before jumping into the next big thing. Even if you're still working between semesters, classes are done, which is one less thing to worry about.”
Peralta agrees that rest is important, but explains that there is a balance, “I believe it’s best for the body and mind to stay active and invest energy into hobbies, exercise, family and friends etc. If you can find a way to incorporate some relaxation time with all those things, then it is a recipe for a successful summer.”
Although many of us know the importance of taking a break during summer vacation, it can be hard to remember how to rest after being so busy throughout the year. Peralta explains his tips for winding down after the semester, “These tips have definitely helped me out in my life, though what works for me may not work for you.”
First Peralta suggests cleaning your room. “During break I tend to find myself becoming increasingly lazy, and a dirty room is likely to encourage that.” Second, he suggests maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. “Many times I find myself staying up to the late hours of the night but this can be very unhealthy.” Finally, “Enjoy time with friends and family, it will help to reconnect with our friends and family after a long semester. Go on a trip or camp. I find this helps take my mind off academics and brings me back in tune with nature and social life."
Ruddicks agrees that taking time to travel and socialize (safely) is valuable. “I think just taking some time to travel, catch up with friends, or even just do nothing before starting your next project is a good idea. Take a week or two to just rest after finals are over. Plan a picnic, see a movie, whatever. Things are opening up again; make the most of that opportunity.”
Garcia emphasizes that we should allow ourselves to rest after experiencing a particularly stressful school year. “After almost a whole year of virtual school and work, look back and be grateful that you took a challenging time and continued to work and communicate behind a screen.” Garcia adds that everyone has experienced adversities this past year, but we have managed to work through it.
So after you wrap up your final exams, remember to allow yourself to rest and recover. Congratulations on making it through a truly challenging school year.