Thoughts from Counselors

Rethink, Refocus, Rejuvenate: How to Use the Summer to Your Best Advantage

by Brandi Willis Schreiber

After an incredibly busy fall and spring semester, we’ve at last found ourselves in the midst of the slower, hot summer months! The student population on campus has dwindled, Lubbock moves at a slower pace, and the days grow longer and ever hotter on the South Plains. While some students use the summer to work or take a few courses, many students may not yet find themselves engaged in a summer internship or needing to take summer courses. So how can these students use the summer to their best advantage? By “rethinking, refocusing, and rejuvenating.”

I learned a long time ago that the slower pace of the summer provided a perfect opportunity to focus on important things that I simply didn’t have time to do during the hectic fall and spring semesters. “Rethinking, refocusing, and rejuvenating” is a phrase I coined about taking time in the summer to assess the past year, create small goals for myself that I could accomplish during the summer, think about what I’d like to focus on next fall, and engage in some tender-loving-care of myself that gets miserably forgotten during the school year.

For example, summers for me mean neglected writing projects and books come off the shelves and back into my daily round. I clean and reorganize my desk space and home, removing the physical (and mental) clutter that has accumulated over the past semester. I refocus on my diet and health, taking advantage of all the seasonal produce for more colorful meals and long daylight hours for plenty of walks. I get a head start on fall work projects, and weekends are no longer about “catching up” on missed sleep or work during the week; rather, I allow my internal clock to slow with the long days and take time to pause, peruse, and play, which gives me new kind energy. Although I keep myself busy during the summers, it’s a different kind of busy that I find rejuvenating – and very important to my overall productivity and health.

Our tutors use the summer to “rethink, refocus, and rejuvenate,” as well.

“In graduate school it is very difficult to have a “free” summer, since classes and research still go on,” says Ivette Noriega, one of our tutors. “Every summer since being at Tech, I have been in school as an undergraduate and graduate student. What helps me rethink, refocus, and rejuvenate is picking up an outdoor sport such as running, hiking, or playing tennis. I try to learn a new outdoor activity every summer. Not only do I learn new skills, but it makes me go outside and enjoy nature. That’s very important to me and makes a difference in my well being when I am able to appreciate the small things I tend to forget that exist during a normal semester.”

If students use the summer as an opportunity to “rethink, refocus, and rejuvenate,” these slower months can be used to their best advantage. How do you like to use the summer to rethink, refocus, and rejuvenate? Let’s get a conversation going! Feel free to post your ideas in the comments below!

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