What time is it? Summer time, it’s our vacation!
Ok, I do hope you’ll forgive me for the High School Musical reference but it is getting to that exciting time of year. No responsibilities, beautiful weather, time with friends, ice-cream and of course, no school! (I really could go on with this list but we’ll pause on that.) The summer is a perfect time as a student to continue working on your personal learning and development so today, we’ll be discussing some ways to do just that.
- Review the past academic year. Yes, I know we just celebrated school being over but a key way to ensure that you’re constantly improving is to reflect and review. You can do this by looking at how each term went or by reviewing the academic year by subject. It’s always useful to do a ‘What went well’ and ‘Even better if’ to know exactly what worked the past academic year and where to improve. It might be that you notice that you enjoyed your subjects this year but feel like you need to work on your time management skills. Perhaps there are certain subjects you find that you need to work on a bit more or that you need to hone in on your summary skills. Whatever it might be, look back at your achievements over the past academic year including academic, personal, extra-curricular or skills-related. Then, make a note of where you need to improve so that when school starts again, you know exactly what to focus on and can start working on some of these over the summer.
- Make some goals for the summer! Especially after an exam year or season, most students will experience this confusion that comes with a massive lull in activity. You go from full revision days and flashcards to ‘I’m not sure what to do with myself’ pretty quickly. I’m not advocating that you go back into full revision mode but set yourself 1-3 goals for the summer: exciting but not overwhelming. Your goals don’t have to be academia related and can range from the amount of fiction books you’d like to read to reaching a new grade on your favourite instrument or working on a creative idea you have! Having some SMART goals for the summer will make it easier to structure your days and spend your time intentionally.
- Create a new routine for the summer. I can’t be the only one who feels like all sense of structure and routine mysteriously disappears once school’s over. For most people, it’s unrealistic and probably not essential to maintain your usual school routine. Instead, work out a new routine: When would you ideally like to get up? When will you spend time working towards your summer goals and when can you schedule time to spend time with your family and friends?
Following on from the last point, once you’ve set yourself some goals, the next step is to create some systems and routines to help you get there. If your aim is to train for a 5k run then you might aim to train on Wednesday and Friday mornings for example to help you achieve your goal.
- Work on your professional development. There’s no better time to work, volunteer or shadow a professional than over the summer. Even if you’re not able to get formal work experience then you can prepare for this by touching up your CV, applying for virtual work experience (Young Professionals is a great place to start), looking at the type of roles you’d like to apply for in future or doing some research. Also, I am genuinely a believer in creating your own experience when you can so start that creative idea you have or launch the business project!
- Rest and prepare for the new term. Yes, these two can go hand-in-hand! Of course, it’s incredibly important to rest and rejuvenate over the summer. Take some time to do the tings you enjoy doing or do nothing at all and if you can, start working towards the changes you’d like to make ahead of the next academic year.
As always, I hope this post has been useful and let me know in the comments: what are your plans for the summer?