So, some of you are halfway through your summer school experience. Congratulations! However, some of your chose not to attend summer school. For many reasons, this is a great option as well. For many students, summer is the time to only focus on work. You’ve had to adjust your work schedule all year to accommodate school, so the summer is nice time to only focus on one thing. For other students, summer is the time to enjoy family. They’ve gone all year with you missing some things, so the summer is a great time to just focus on them. Go on vacation (or a staycation), have lunch together, and visit family (keeping a proper social distance). And, for others, summer is simply a time to take a break. For you, the school year was your time to bombard your brain with all things academia, and then COVID threw you for a doozy. So summer should be a nice breaking point. Relax, have peace, and reconnect with yourself. However, I do have a challenge for you: keep your mind sharp.
Don’t forget that from the last day of school until the first day equates to roughly 3 months of no academic work. The brain can definitely regress if it’s not properly exercised, and academic work is very different than other types of work. You might be able to read a book of fiction in a day and comprehend it all. Do the same for an academic body of work, and you might find yourself re-reading passage after passage just to understand what the words mean. Therefore, invest in yourself this summer by keeping your brain active. Here are some ways to do so:
- Read, read, read: It’s no secret that reading stimulates your brain and keeps you healthy. It develops comprehension skills and analytical skills; it also aids in memory stimulation. Read a variety of materials such as works of fiction, nonfiction, magazines, and newspapers.
- Puzzles: Be it crossword puzzles or those gut-wrenching 500-piece puzzles, your brain will be exercised. Like reading, puzzles of any kind can stimulate memory, improve problem-solving skills, and lower stress levels (not so for me).
- Get ahead on academic work: Okay, stay with me on this one, but you already know what your fall schedule will be, right? Go ahead and read up on one of those classes. Taking an Intro Psych class? There are tons of free ones online, along with prep material on it. Use the summer to get acquainted with the material before school starts. My suggestion is to work on the subject that will be hardest for you. There’s no reason to enter the school year flustered with new, difficult material if you don’t have to.
- Get outside: There’s nothing like being outside to help the brain and our moods. Go on a walk, check out a new walking or running trail, see a waterfall. Getting outside and going on an adventure not only improves problem-solving skills, but it also improves creativity and awareness.
As you get through the next half of the summer, dedicate this time for brain development. You’ll not only learn new things, but your brain will thank you once school resumes.
Keep moving forward,