Advice for the Floundering First-Year (5/17/19)

Congratulations on making it to the end of your first year. You may not realize it, but this is a big feat. Hopefully you are happy with how this year went, but if not, I hope you’re able to re-assess what went wrong and change your habits for next year.

I want to spend my final column giving you advice to think about over the summer. While you might be looking forward to spending these next three months not thinking about school, it might actually be in your favor to dedicate a little time each day to furthering your education.

Of course, you don’t have to be taking classes, but there are a lot of ways to keep your brain working over the summer. Here are my suggestions for things to do in order to keep your brain active over the three months break.
1) Read. I know this seems obvious, but set a reading goal for yourself (whether it be minutes or pages per day, or a total number of books read throughout the summer) and work towards that. Reading a little each day improves your memory, focus, concentration, and even reduces your future risk for Alzheimer’s.

2) Learn to code. Nowadays, computers are an inevitable part of our lives, and having technological skills is invaluable. There are tons of free online coding classes that will teach you the basics, and you can add your new impressive talent to your resume.

3) Speaking of your resume, employers and graduate schools love to see volunteer work on there. Summer is the perfect time to help others. If you need ideas, look into youth coaching, working in a community garden, or passing flowers and candy around at your local hospital.

4) Stay active. I know it’s tempting to stay inside and binge watch netflix in your summer free time, but staying active is proven to not only help your body, but also give your brain a boost. If gyms aren’t your thing, try rollerblading on a local trail or swimming at a lake.

5) Finally, prepare for the following school year. If you haven’t decided on a major yet, summer is a good time to explore options through job shadowing and research. Try to spend the summer narrowing down your options before you are caught in the middle of your sophomore year with no idea of what you want to do.

Hopefully these tips help you have a fun and exciting summer.