School’s out for the summer, and the fall semester is likely the last thing on your mind on these bright, warm June days. But relaxing by the pool or planning a vacation doesn’t mean that all your hard work over the last year falls to the wayside until next year! Here are some small but significant ways you can keep yourself sharp for the summer and set yourself up to jump right into success when September rolls around.

Create personal goals

Maybe you’ve always wanted to run a 5K but have never had the time to train, or maybe there’s a trombone solo you’ve always dreamed of mastering, or a recipe you’ve been meaning to cook up, but school always got in the way. Summer might seem like the time to put your academic and professional goals on hold and just relax and go with the flow. But a break from school doesn’t have to mean a break from improving yourself. Maybe your goal is to run a little further every day, to practice trombone for 30 minutes three times a week, or to try a different recipe every week. Setting small, personal goals for yourself helps you stay in the habit of setting and meeting benchmarks, but in a low-stakes and enjoyable way.

Stick to a routine

Like setting goals, sticking to a routine is a good habit to keep up throughout the summer so that readjusting for the fall semester isn’t as big of a shock. While you might want to sleep your days off away or throw your calendar in the trash for the next three months, sticking to a routine can help you stay on top of your summer goals, and it doesn’t have to be boring or rigid either. Something as simple as a morning or evening ritual, like doing yoga in the morning or taking a walk after dinner, that you keep up every day, can help your days - and mind - stay orderly and help you stay organized even after the summer ends.


Keeping your mind sharp doesn’t mean doing nightly math problems or writing an essay a week. All you have to do to stay mentally adept over the summer is a little reading. Novels, nonfiction, news articles, even advice columns will do the trick. There are plenty of summer reading lists, thinkpieces, and new bestsellers out there to choose from - pick what seems the most interesting, cuddle up on the couch or get comfortable in the shade, and get reading!

Get out in your community

There are plenty of ways to be involved even if your student groups and extracurriculars are on hold for the summer. Your community will likely hold plenty of events, campaigns, and drives all summer long, and volunteering at them is a great way to get involved. Not only is it a fun and engaging way to get to know your neighbors and the area you live in, but you can also gain valuable skills and experience that looks great on a professional resume.

Try something new

Summer is about adventure, and what’s a better adventure than doing something you’ve never done before? Taking risks, however small, builds confidence and can result in new skills. Who knows - maybe you’ll even find your new passion! Whether it’s a new food, a new activity, or a class on something you never thought you’d be interested in, take this summer as an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone (maybe just a tiny step out!) and try something you’ve never tried before.