Summertime Sadness

As summer comes to a close, I can’t help but wonder how to best spend the last month before classes begin. I have been amazed at how quickly this summer has gone by, it seems like just a few days ago that July was beginning. Embarking on the final weeks of summer is a tough task, on the one hand just enjoying the sun and seeing friends is a top priority. However, at the same time, I want to feel prepared for school and finish as much work as possible to reduce the stress come September.

Pros and Cons of a Work-Free August

Many students fill their summer months with internships, part-time jobs, or summer courses and try to fit time for fun in between hectic and demanding schedules. However, this tends to give little time to rest-up before the fall term begins. This summer, I opted for a part-time job and mix of school related extra-curricular commitment to fill my summer. In the last month, however, I find it difficult to find the motivation to continue working; I would rather spend time with friends and family and just relax.

The benefits to sleeping in and relaxing allows an individual to recuperate from work and school schedules which may have dominated the early summer months. Furthermore, it allows for the time to finish up fun projects, for example redecorating a room or apartment, finding time to go for coffee with friends, or finishing a book. At the end of the summer, these moments will be happy memories and, depending on the project, may strengthen your quality of life during the semester.

However, this approach risks leaving an individual unprepared for school. The deadlines of courses and extra-curriculars will be harsh shock when school starts. Adapting from the slower summer schedule will be tough. Any projects that were not completed during the summer may have fast approaching deadlines. Thus, any benefits from summer rest and relaxation will quickly dissipate.

Pros and Cons of a Work-Filled August

Working during August can largely be divided into four categories: a summer job, extra-curricular commitments, preparing for fall courses, or summer courses. Summer courses (or deferred exams) are unfortunately not optional once you are registered for them. They may help t get back in the swing of school since they demand hours of coursework. However, this can be very tiring and may not allow for much time to start the fall semester well rested. Summer jobs tend to fall into a similar category; one cannot just tell their boss they no longer want to work during August. However, if possible, taking some time off before school starts is ideal.

Extra-curricular work and preparing for fall courses tend to be the most optional of summer work options. It is easy to leave them for during the semester, since, typically, the deadlines occur in the fall. For example, there are task related to running a student journal which I can leave until school starts, but if I complete them now, I will have less pressure during the semester. Another example would be starting to look at course outlines for fall courses. While it might seem excessive, getting a head start on readings or reviewing past work that may help in the fall will help to reduce the load once school starts. However, doing school work or other tedious tasks is not particularly exciting and tends to drain a person’s energy.

Overall, I think that a balance of relaxing, fun times, and work is necessary in the last month of August. It is important to choose how your time is best spent based on what will fulfill you most; at the end of the summer it is better to look back and be happy with oneself than to think about all that was not accomplished. No matter what, there will be a nostalgia when summer comes to end.

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