Taking additional courses this summer? While working toward that degree, it’s important that you learn how to balance vacation time with school work and attending classes. Many of your friends and family members may not be in the same predicament of taking courses throughout the summer, which may create some distractions when they invite you to join them on all of their summer adventures. With the summer season officially just having started, here are some great tips on how to balance your course work along with your social life during the hot summer months.
1. Fit your course schedule to your personal schedule. If you plan on interning away from your school or traveling for an extended period of time this summer, online classes are a great option. Online classes provide flexibility, allowing you to take courses while you travel and work – all you need is access to a computer and Internet. The OpenSUNY Navigator can help you find great classes in an online setting to get the credits you need. Planning ahead is essential.
2. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! Hot weather and time off from school (for most students) calls for more activities. There will be many events, beach outings, vacations, and road trips that you may be invited to, but it is important that you consider how much school work you have to do, or whether you’ve got an exam coming up. Don’t get peer pressured into accepting invitations if it means you will fall behind in your courses. There will be plenty of opportunities to participate in fun summer activities after that big exam, or during weeks when the professor only assigns two chapters of reading instead of five. Remember, we need to manage our time well to be successful in school.
3. Take advantage of summer weather. With so many warm and sunny days throughout the summer, it would be a waste to spend all of your time cooped up in the library. A great way to enjoy the weather while keeping up with your studies is to take the study session outside! There are plenty of the nice places throughout New York that are easy to visit. You can go to a local park, grab a bench in the shade, and breeze through your required reading materials; or lie down in the freshly-mowed grass and draft up your next assigned paper. Either way, spending your busy afternoon outdoors is a great option to revitalize you and help you enjoy the weather.
4. Plan vacation time well in advance. When planning a vacation or getaway, it is important that you plan ahead of time in order to prevent any conflict with your summer courses and summer job schedule. Avoid the added stress of begging coworkers for last-minute shift covers, or desperately emailing professors to ask for extensions on assignments. Instead, read your course syllabus and mark down important due dates in your calendar, and ask your manager for days off before booking any flights or making any traveling arrangements. That way, you can focus on preparing for your trip without spending the week prior in a state of anxiety.
James is a University at Albany graduate student assistant with the Office of New Media at SUNY System Administration.