10 Smart Things College Students Should Do for a Productive Summer

Two Male Students Walking On Campus

Summer is here and in full swing, so it’s time to kick back, relax, and unwind while binge-watching your favorite shows. …Or is it? You might be tempted to empty your mind of everything you’ve learned this past academic year and spend the next few months scrolling through social media, but there are better ways you can spend your summer. These 10 tips won’t just help you have a more productive summer – you’ll find that you’ll wind up enjoying it more, too!

Give Your Job or Internship Your All

Looking for experience you can put on your resume? Landing a summer job or internship is the perfect way to do just that while applying what you learned in the classroom this year. No matter how short your job or internship may be, any experience is valuable. Build your work ethic and put forth your best effort to get the most out of the experience and build positive connections with others! If you didn’t wind up landing any summertime gigs this year, consider volunteering in your community or for an organization that speaks to you. It’s a great way to give back to your community and will give you some meaningful, hands-on learning experience that future employers will love to see.

Get Curious

Don’t turn your brain off completely this summer! Live that lifelong-learning life by exploring the world around you. Take the time now to delve into a topic that intrigues you by completing an undergraduate research project or learning something new just for fun. Increase your mental elasticity by studying a new language (there are apps for that!) or expand your skillset beyond your major and natural talents (Are you a gifted writer? Find out how websites operate by trying your hand at coding!). Read up on – or experience first-hand – a different culture or country that you’d love to visit one day. The possibilities are endless!

Male Student Reading
Read for Pleasure

When was the last time you read a book just for fun? Reading not only exercises your brain but also helps improve your mental health, memory, and focus all while reducing your stress levels. Head over to your TBR (to be read) bookshelf and pick out a book or two to dive into this summer.

Up Your Cooking Game

Do you plan on living at McKendree West next year? West apartments come with a full kitchen, so it might not be a bad idea to level up your cooking skills this summer. Learn how to cook some basic meals, try your hand at a few family-favorite recipes, and learn how to meal prep (which can save you so much time as a busy student). You can also sign up for a local cooking class!

Go on an Adventure

Summer is the perfect time for making memories. Book a last-minute trip or head out on a spontaneous adventure to somewhere new with your friends, whether you catch a train, hop on a bus, or take a road trip to wherever the highways lead you. Don’t have time for a mini-vacay? Take advantage of those student discounts and take in some culture by visiting a museum, enjoying a music festival, or checking out a film festival.

Male Student Playing Piano
Enjoy Your Hobbies – or Try a New One

Keep your mind active and engaged by indulging in your hobbies this summer! You can get creative on your own or sign up for a class in your community that revolves around one of your interest areas. Expand your horizons and try something new as well. Play an instrument, learn to sew, create art, put a puzzle or two together, take up dancing – the sky’s the limit here!

Review Your Notes (Yes, Really!)

It’s never too early to prepare for your next round of classes. Review next semester’s course schedule, take a look at this past year’s notes, and prep yourself for more challenging courses. You don’t have to pour hours upon hours into studying; even just a brief glance or two at your old notes can help prime your brain for ample learning.

Figure out Which Clubs and Activities You’ll Participate in Next Semester

Your college experience becomes even more memorable and enriched when you take part in clubs and extracurricular activities on campus. Read up on the clubs, organizations, and honor societies McKendree has to offer and find ones that speak to your interests! Who knows? You might even find your life-long friends at these organizations.

Disconnect and Head Outside

This summer, ditch your phone and take part in some fun local summertime activities! Check out Shakespeare in the Park, head out for a swim with your friends, or grab a title on your TBR shelf and read in your favorite park. Disconnecting from the Internet and ditching the screens frequently is healthy for your brain and will also help you have a more fulfilling summer.

Group of Students Outside
Relax and Enjoy Your Free Time

Your summer break doesn’t have to be all about work. Make time to kick back and relax, too! This is the perfect time to allow yourself to do nothing once in a while and recharge before next semester. Burnout is real, so don’t overcommit yourself.

By filling your summer vacation with productive tasks, enriching activities, and plenty of R&R, you’ll find that you’ll not only get the most out of your break, but you’ll also be ready to take on the challenges that come your way next semester. Have a great summer, Bearcats!