A Balanced Summer Break

Juggling Deadlines and Priorities 101 for Freelancers - Hongkiat

Getting done with school to start summer vacation; whether that be high school or college has been the excitement of many around the world. Even as we recover from a pandemic, summer break as a college student is going to look a little different from a high schooler’s because of the increased independence and change in priorities. 

As a planner, I find joy in visualizing and noting down my expectations for the summer; whether that be something intangible like ‘quality time with family’ or a hard goal like ‘finish 5 books’.

If you are getting ready to move to campus, you already have a lot of packing, shopping, and tearful goodbyes on your list; and it makes perfect sense because those are priorities for an incoming freshmen. If you are already a student and this summer bridges the gap to your next phase, I would spend some time reflecting. 

Some thoughts that could cross your mind:  

  • Did I do poorly in a class and need to retake it? 
  • Where will I be staying?
    • Going home and having less access to UC facilities might change up my plans
    • There might be a study abroad program I am interested in 
    • Staying on campus might limit quality family time and thus would need extra planning 
    • Think about renting a storage unit if I am required to vacate my space 
    • Take care of any citizenship/visa paperwork (if applicable) 
  • How am I doing on my path to professional school? 
    • For some this means studying and taking the admissions test (whether that be the MCAT, GMAT, GRE, DAT, LSAT,PCAT,OAT, or others)
    • For some this means getting recommended hands on experience (clinical hours, shadowing, internships, etc.) 
  • What are some personal obligations that I must take care of? 

Regardless of all those thoughts (and others), having a balance between professional, personal, and academic priorities are going to make you the happiest by the beginning of the next college semester. 

One way that you could balance it all would be: 

  • Block out weeks at a time to purely do X: 
    • Clumping a priority will give you the focus and time you might need to put in all your effort
      • Ex: taking summer classes. Try taking the sections that are in the same summer sessions so that as long as you are in ‘school mode’, you could maximize this brain power. 
      • Ex: going home. Having other major commitments when going back home will negatively affect both experiences. While you are spending time with your family, half of you is going to be gravitating towards work, and likewise when you are trying to focus, you hear the chatter and laughs outside and want to enjoy the moment with loved ones. 
    • However, I know that this might not work for all priorities because they could be smaller obligations that occur frequently and can’t be ‘grouped’ in a single month. 
  • Listening to yourself and what you need 
    • You know yourself best and as much as you want to do everything all at once, figure out what works best for you. 
    • For example, your spring semester could have been a heavy 19 credit semester and you are more than ready for a break. If you know that you don’t have the mental capacity to continue with summer classes/test studying right after you finish, then take the month (or so) to visit family/loved ones. If you are bored halfway through this vacation, then change things up; volunteer, get creative, travel, start something new; sitting in a rut for a longer period of time is only going to make you more restless and fed up. 

Summer is a time for many opportunities to collide, so push yourself and grow as a person. 

Best of luck! 

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