How To Survive Summer School


The sun is shining. The beach is full of volleyballs and bright pink bikini bottoms. The last thing on your mind is the many decimals of Pi and your copy of The Communist Manifesto.

However, for many students, summertime no longer takes the form of four months of seemingly endless freedom. Whether you are on a co-op, behind in courses, getting ahead in courses, going through a switch of majors or doing a four-month intensive post-grad program, summer can scream school for a lot of people.

It’s bound to be difficult to focus on assignment when the beachside patio is calling your name. This article offers some advice on how to succeed in school while still getting to soak up the sun – Sheryl Crow style.

Stay on schedule

Lauren Ligterink, a recent graduate from Humber College’s Creative Book Publishing summer program, says what worked for her was making sure she took care of her schoolwork during a Monday-to-Friday, 8-5 type of schedule. “Not only did this leave me free for countless weekend BBQs and road trips, but it really prepared me for my job – I was already in the perfect routine,” she said.

Doing your best to leave school at school and get your homework as out of the way as possible before heading home for the day will keep your summer evenings open for bike rides and pints on the patio.

Utilize Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun

Commuting can be depressing in the summertime – especially when you’re wedged between countless other sweaty commuters. Lauren says her first tactic for summer school success was to ride her bike to class every day. “It helped me get out and enjoy the sun, while also taking advantage of my commute and earning a bonus outdoor workout.” She also suggests taking lunch breaks outside and organizing study groups in the park rather than the library.

Take a mental break

Heidi Strauss, a recent Education graduate from Wilfred Laurier’s Brantford Campus, says she found it was important to spend time every day relaxing with friends or going for a swim. “Even if you have a lot to do, taking time away lets you come back feeling refreshed (and less resentful of your schoolwork).”

My older (and wiser) sister, Andrea, is also a veteran to the summer school lifestyle and she says she found her biggest challenge was staying motivated. Similarly to Heidi, Andrea’s strategy was to make plans when she could in order to forget about school. “This helped me stay on topic the rest of the time because I didn’t feel like I was missing out as much,” she says. “Also, because I had more plans, I had less time to procrastinate, which kept me more organized and on schedule.”

Accept your fate

You’re in school for the summer. The faster you accept this fact the easier life will be. Lauren suggests doing simple things, such as not sitting near a window. Immersing yourself in the land of books instead of teasing yourself with the sunlight streaming through the glass will make you more productive and less depressed about the fact that you have an essay to finish.

Summer and school once existed in our brains as polar opposite ideas, but perhaps with these tips and tricks we can see them as going hand-in-hand. Peanut butter and jelly. Knife and fork. Summer and school?

Ahh yes. Works like a charm.

Photo Credit: Arriba on Flickr