When you’re a student, examining each summer vacation can be like staring into the sun: it’s hard to see. Hard to see where all the time goes, which goals were set and which were accomplished, and what energy is even left in the tank by the end. It’s all quite a blur. But while it’s not advisable to gaze at the sun for any duration of time, it is necessary you take a good look at your summer vacation before and after it takes place.
In our second set of advice for the summer, we turn to the many hazards that summertime can present to students, and more importantly how they can be avoided to help you stay motivated.
Summer is the season of temptations. From that extra scoop of ice cream to that spontaneous trip that ends up taking a bit longer than originally expected. And while this is often the essence of what a “vacation” is, it’s overdoing it that you should worry about. The strategy instead? Work hard and play hard. Counterbalance your relaxation with something productive. Even if the ratio doesn’t always add up exactly, occasionally reading, exercising, or helping your community out can be enough to light a spark of productivity. Learning to say “no thanks” to temptations can also make the summer feel longer by adding variety; it will also increase the enjoyment you experience when you do say “yes.”
Just the opposite of the previous de-motivator, summer for many students can unfortunately include waves of stress that endure the duration of a school year and persist throughout summer. This stress can emulate from a new job, a relocation, financial planning, or a family dilemma. When this is the case, reexamine your summer goals and where your priorities lay, being realistic with how many extracurriculars you should really be taking on, and reassess the importance of summer as it pertains to your personal life and happiness. After all, when most of your time is spent in school it becomes that much more important to use time away to improve other areas of your life. Seek professional help if you become too stressed.
At some point during summer’s Dog Days, many students, busy or not, will report having feelings of sluggishness or feeling a bit “out of it.” But aside from the common remedies of drinking water and staying cool, these lulls must also be fought with a positive mindset. Recall how summer used to make you feel as a kid and revert to the activities that have always worked. In other words, simplify it. Have a barbeque, go for a swim, or volunteer somewhere where you can be around kids. There’s a reason summer makes us happy, but sometimes we lose sight of what that is. If all else fails, ask a graduate or elder who no longer has a true “summer” for advice from their own past experiences.
Friend fever can come in a few forms, but all result in demotivation. An “addiction” to hanging out with them and maybe having a little too much fun is the most common. Here, though quite enjoyable in the moment, the time flies for the student and before he or she knows it it’s August again and, well, the to-do list hasn’t gotten any shorter. Another type occurs when your friends’ goals seem incongruent with yours and you’re forced to either change your desires for your future or rethink how much you should really be seeing them. Either way, it’s important to closely monitor your “going out” habits and make sure the company you keep understands your goals so they can help you achieve them rather than inadvertently hinder you.
School getting outshined
The biggest complaint students have upon returning to school is that their summer was too short – they didn’t accomplish what they had hoped, and they feel they’re in the same place in August as they were in May, or worse, have lost ground. Write down a few reminders of things you’d like yourself to still have in mind once the next semester rolls around and you’ll be less likely to return to school having to readjust or relearn the process.
How will you stay motivated this summer? Let us know on Twitter at @ACISpecBenefits or on facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or YouTube. Also feel free to contact ACI Specialty Benefits at (800) 932-0034, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.