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Summer is a time of sun, freedom, and relaxation. For college students, it often marks a break from the intense academic schedules of the school year. However, it can also be a valuable period to maintain academic momentum, gain new experiences, and prepare for future success. Here’s a guide from Apple Psychological on how to navigate your summer effectively, balancing academic motivation with well-deserved relaxation.

Set Clear Goals

 Begin by setting clear, achievable goals for the summer. These can be academic, personal, or professional. Maybe you want to get a head start on a challenging course next semester, complete an internship, or learn a new skill. Having specific objectives can help you stay focused and productive.


Create a Flexible Schedule

While it’s important to stay productive, summer should also include time to unwind and recharge. Create a flexible schedule that includes both work and play. Allocate time for study sessions, work commitments, and relaxation. As a college student, employers will more likely understand and accommodate a more flexible work schedule. A balanced routine helps prevent burnout and keeps you motivated throughout the summer.


Enroll in Summer Courses

If you want to stay academically engaged, consider enrolling in summer courses. That’s not to say to take an entire semester’s worth of courses over the summer, but if one or two courses are available that look interesting and contribute to your degree, it could be beneficial to pursue those. Many colleges offer online classes, which provide flexibility and allow you to study from anywhere. Summer courses can help you get ahead in your degree program, lighten your course load for future semesters, and keep your mind sharp so you don’t go into fall semester having forgotten everything from last year. 


Pursue an Internship or Job

Gaining real-world experience through internships or jobs can be incredibly valuable. It not only enhances your resume but also provides practical skills and networking opportunities. Look for positions related to your field of study or explore new areas of interest. Don’t worry if you don’t land the job or internship of your dreams- there are plenty of other ways to contribute to your desired career and there is plenty of time to do so. Balancing work with relaxation can make your summer both productive and enjoyable.


Develop a Reading Habit

Reading is a great way to stay intellectually engaged without the pressure of exams and assignments. Create a summer reading list that includes both academic texts and books for pleasure. Reading widely can expand your knowledge, improve your critical thinking skills, and provide a welcome escape from everyday stresses.


Engage in Self-Care

Summer is an excellent time to focus on self-care and well-being. Engage in activities that promote mental and physical health, such as exercise, meditation, and hobbies. If you have a routine during the school year for exercise, meditation, or hobbies, try to continue that routine at home or to create a new variation of it. Taking care of yourself ensures you return to school refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges.


Stay Connected with Peers

Maintain connections with your college friends and peers over the summer. They can offer support, motivation, and camaraderie. Study groups, virtual hangouts (and in-person ones if you are able to!), or collaborative projects can help you stay academically motivated and socially connected. Joining or creating a book group, movie/tv show group, gaming group, etc., is a fun and easy way to stay connected without the pressure of having to reach out to someone on your own time.


Explore New Interests

Use the summer to explore interests that you might not have time for during the school year. Whether it’s learning a new language, picking up an instrument, or diving into a creative project, exploring new interests can be both enriching and invigorating. It is a great way to maintain motivation and prevent summer couch potato-ism while taking advantage of the break from academia.


Travel and Explore

If circumstances allow, travel can be an enriching part of your summer. It broadens your horizons, exposes you to new cultures, and provides a break from routine. Even local exploration, such as visiting nearby parks or historical sites, can offer refreshing new experiences. Traveling is beneficial not only for your summer but also for your life as a whole, including your academic education.


Reflect and Plan for the Future

Finally, take some time to reflect on your past academic year. Assess your strengths, identify areas for improvement, and set goals for the upcoming semester. Planning for the future helps you return to school with a clear sense of direction and purpose.



Balancing academics and leisure during the summer is all about finding the right mix of productivity and relaxation. You do not have to do all ten of these suggestions in order to achieve this balance. The main message throughout the guide is to keep everything in moderation: try to have a balance of work and relaxation. Achieving such a balance is easier said than done. College is a weird period of time where you are still a kid, but also preparing to enter the real world, so take advantage of the last summer vacations of your life while continuing to pursue your transition into adulthood.

Apple Psychological is here to support you through every season. If you need guidance or assistance in planning your summer, don’t hesitate to reach out. Enjoy your break, and make it a summer to remember! Learn about our College Transition Team or book a free consultation by clicking HERE or call us at 917-526-0766. An experienced counselor specializing in this transformative period of time can help. 

In addition, Apple Psychological offers other Support for parents and teens. Find out more information and Register HERE or book a free consultation by Clicking Here