School was such a pain.
Lack of sleep from the early mornings. Stress from all the exams. Exhaustion from all the pressure and heartache…
I always found myself craving the summer, a pause in the madness so I could be ready to be thrown back in, come September.
Sound familiar to you?
If it does, here are some tips on how to wring every last drop of refreshment from your summers!
First off, you can catch up on the stuff that you couldn’t do for yourself during term.
Get eight-to-nine hours’ sleep. Do the exercise you couldn’t fit in before. Have breakfast again. Supermarket brand Weetabix tastes like heaven after weeks without breakfast, trust me. This is a great time to reset yourself and resume the good habits lost to the academic maelstrom.
And you needn’t limit this advice to the boring things you have to do. Maybe you could try that hobby you’ve been thinking about, or starting that novel you bought but never read. Now you have time for the things want to do, why not do them?
Go out with your mates again!
You have time now, extended hours of sunlight when you’re not legally required to be in school. No more P.B. Shelley essays to miss parties for; Newton can take a running jump at himself; and dead is the weekly MyMaths scramble.
You’re free to be the youths you want to be!* Burgers for breakfast and lunch. Random trips to Biggleswade, because a town with a name that silly must be worth visiting.
Go and do nothing in particular together because, whether you realise it or not, these are the memories that will sustain your friendships when you all go your separate ways. Those carefree summers will run out, so fill them with epic stories and misadventures.
(* Please don’t defy the law and/or parents. I don’t have any form of indemnity if they sue me…)
If your family is lovely and you love them to bits, this part is self-explanatory! For those grumbling at my subheading, do bear with me.
Families are weird, families can be difficult. But in small, intense doses, they can also be mystically therapeutic after a draining year. I remember how much peace I found in the simple act of watching Blackadder with my mother, after a year including A-levels and a rough breakup.
If you go along with that family holiday you didn’t want, or that Chinese restaurant only your mum loves, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the usual, trivial peeves. The incessant dad-jokes, the bickering and the dodgy politics over the table.
These things might annoy the hell out of you but, crucially, they don’t matter in themselves. Instead, the shift in focus from real problems in your own life to these tiny complaints really help to put them both into perspective. Yeah, those uni applications wore you down, but life goes on. And on. Like your dad’s council-themed ranting.
Worries pass, and those quiet (or loud!) moments with your family can help you move forward. I call it ‘loving infuriation’. And, you never know, you guys could even bond a little…
I love airports. I’m convinced that the guys who work in the shops and bars behind security are people who missed their flights and then signed a magical contract to work there forever. After all, you can’t get there without a boarding pass…
But being on the move, as I’ve hinted at a few times, could be exactly what your ragged, tired brain needs. You might not even need to arrive, if you’re like me. Just get on a train and go in endless circles for a week.
If you insist on arriving, it doesn’t really matter where you go. So long as it distracts and amuses you, you’re doing it right. Get a bus to the next village and buy a kebab. Or go interrailing across Europe. It’s the same thing: go somewhere that ain’t here and you’ll probably feel better. (If you are planning to study at University, Cambridge should be on your bucket list. Visit Cambridge and discover the hidden gems there).
Now, I don’t know how bad your school year was, but this tip’s for one of those really bad ones that got inside your head and rummaged around, making you really dizzy. The ones that hurt and give you that tight ache behind your sternum and your eyes.
Get out of the house, it could suffocate you.
Breathe the air and feel the sun, it’ll help you feel more alive again.
Fill your time with a job or voluntary role. Building routine and structure into your time takes away those endless hours that you might spend inside your head. And giving yourself a short-term purpose distracts you from the inside of your head anyway.
Whether you spend this healing period on your own or with other people is up to you. Both have their benefits, but only you know what’ll work for you.
Summer is an invaluable time because school isn’t in the way anymore. You can use it to catch up on stuff you’ve missed, put off or couldn’t do before. You can reconnect with yourself, your friends and your family. All in the hope that, as autumn approaches, you’ll find yourself ready. Keen, almost. Wanting to go back to school, and go again to make this year better than the last.
Make the most of your summers by attending a Summer School
Once you’ve got every last drop of refreshment from your summers, you may want to think about avoiding the summer slide. One of the ways to avoid that summer slide, is to attend one of our award-winning summer school programs.