It’s never a great feeling when you are staring outside, its sunny for the first time in months, its above 20 degrees and everyone you know is at the beach. Staying focused while having summer courses is a battle that I face every year however, throughout the years I have amassed some tricks that have helped me stay on track.
The first tip that I have is to turn off your phone. While I know this may seem super obvious and not that revolutionary, it is something that has impacted the amount of focus that I put into my study sessions. I am also someone who gets ‘fomo’ (fear of missing out) when it comes to being outside and enjoying the sun. Therefore, when I have my phone buzzing with friends trying to make plans and seeing people post online, I get really distracted and become at risk of not finishing the work I must do. Consequently, I have found that completing disconnecting myself from my phone and social media (including iMessage on my laptop) has been super helpful.
The second tip I have is to change scenery. I found that staying on campus or even coming to campus to study has really helped me focus and get work done. Being in an environment that is structured around studying and school helps you get in the mood to focus. However, different places also work better for different people and maximizing on your study time is about understanding what works best for you. For the longest time, I tried convincing myself that studying outside in the sun worked for me, but I later come to the realization that I am much less productive. Although, during the summer I do always recommend studying in a place that has AC, especially during the heat waves!
Something else that helps me stay on track during the summer semesters is to create a strict schedule for myself. I do this every semester but once again during the summer semester this is extra important because I find it much easier to ignore work that needs to be done and have it all pile up at the end of the week. With school, work, extra curriculars and life, it can be hard to keep track and that is why I create a schedule for the whole semester at the beginning of classes. I usually create a document that breaks down each week and I fill in important dates like due dates and test dates. From there I write when I want certain things done by like readings or parts of a project/paper. This allows me to really see how much I must do and when I am most busy. Once I have all this down, I also update it weekly with more detail like how many hours each day I have for studying, work and other stuff. Also, by staying on track of your schedule, it also allows you to have more ‘me time’. Which is my next tip!
Allowing yourself to have fun, hang with friends and enjoy the sun is super important not only for your productivity but also mental and physical well-being! I always make sure that I have time for myself each day whether that be to work out or go see some friends in the sun. Leaving this time for myself has made me more productive because I am not spending my time studying and being sad that I can’t go out. I am rather making the most out of that time, so I can have even more time for myself!
My fourth tip is to understand what you can or cannot handle in your summer semester. Personally, I work much more in the summer because that is when my job is the busiest therefore, I have never taken more than two classes during the summer semester because I know that with my work schedule that is what works best for me. Summer is also when a lot of my friends come home from school, and we always like to take weekend trips and taking two classes allows me to do this a few times throughout the semester without getting too stressed out. When we pick our summer classes, we often do it when it is still rainy and cold, and we think that we will be able to stay on track, but my suggestion is to always under shoot than overshoot because taking one less class is always better than having to retake one!
Lastly, something that really helps me is finding people who are also taking classes during the summer. Not only do I feel less alone but it also helps me stay on track. I recommend meeting with those that are also in school and study together. That way you don’t feel like you are missing out on anything because you are still surrounded by company! Moreover, if the people that you often/only surround yourself with are not in summer classes then you can get easily persuaded out of studying. (Bonus points if they are in the same classes as you!)
I hope you found some of these tips and tricks helpful to stay on top of your school schedule during the hot summer months!