Tips to avoid summer brain drain

Since the academic year has come to end, most students are ecstatic for a long, mindless summer and a chance to forget 90 per cent of what they learned during the academic year.

This phenomenon is typically referred to as “summer brain drain.” It is when you fall into a slump of unproductivity and laziness over the summer holiday season. Educators call it “summer learning loss,” owing to the regression of the knowledge acquired by students over the past year.

Don’t get me wrong, students have a right to enjoy their much deserved time away from the daily grind of pressing deadlines for essays, tests, assignments and presentations. However, it’s important to realize that time-off can be both hindering and helpful, as it gives students a break that can actually increase their productivity. Combatting “summer brain drain” is a matter of determining how much time-off is the right amount.

Consider these tips to create a summer that balances rest, relaxation and fun with learning and productivity.

1. Give yourself a project
From writing and editing a blog, planting a garden, crafting your own cookbook or leading a community service project, keep productive and avoid unproductivity by assigning yourself a project.

2. Take a Summer Course
Whether it is to increase your GPA, catch-up on credits or just to get ahead for the next term, enroll yourself in a summer course. Queen’s Continuing and Distance Studies (CDS) is a great place to start, as it offers degree credit courses through distance study, as well as on-campus courses during the Spring-Summer session.

3. Get to Work
Summer jobs are not just a way to bring in some income and extra spending money for the sunny, summer days. They can also help you gain experience and skills to put on future resumes and job applications.

4. Volunteer
Dedicate some of your time close to home by volunteering at local hospitals, schools, businesses, and non-profits in your area. Or, for those entrepreneurial-oriented, take this time to jump-start your own volunteer initiatives or seek internships.

5. Fitness
You could choose to pursue recreational sports or activities, such as starting a walking and running group, attending fitness classes, joining an outdoor sport team or trying a new leisure activity, such as hiking, rock-climbing, kayaking, swimming and yoga. To keep motivated bring a friend or two and encourage each other to take activity outside.

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