Six Ways to Not Turn into an Idiot over the Summer

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During summer, some students run as fast as they can to the nearest beach to soak up the sun while others may look for a getaway in the local countryside. Basically, most students like to spend their time doing as little work as possible, because they know how strenuous the school year can get. Other students, however, don’t like to go too far into chill mode because they know that sometimes there can be lasting consequences, like totally forgetting chemical formulas or finding it hard to read for more than three minutes without checking your phone. But there are ways to stay sharp over summer and not let everything you learned (and all that tuition money) go to waste.

1. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep lays the foundation for giving you enough energy to complete all the other items on this list. As a college student, there’s a good chance you don’t get enough sleep during the school year. Taking advantage of more free time during the summer to get more rest could have extreme benefits. During, sleep the brain both makes and strengthens memories. In essence, the more sleep you get, the more your mind increases its capacity for retention of information—a valuable tool to have as a college student.

2. Stay Physically active

You’ve heard it a thousand times before, but you can always use exercise as one of the most surefire ways to keep your brain sharp. “By bolstering your cardiovascular fitness and blood circulation, exercise nourishes your brain with the nutrients and oxygen it needs to perform optimally,” Dr. Karen Li of Concordia University said. Exercise does more than just keep the brain sharp–it ensures that it functions at the highest level. In a period of downtime like the summer, allowing your mind to operate on this level provides huge advantages and will help increase productivity.

3. Interact with people

Who knew just hanging out with your friends over the summer could keep your mind sharp? Each time you engage in conversation with a different person you open your mind to the chance to learn something new, to share knowledge with someone else or even create networking opportunities. “Every time I meet or interact with someone new I always consider it a positive experience. You can always learn from others through talking about shared experiences,” said junior Amanda Johnson. Social interaction forces your brain to stay sharp and thus the more you engage in interaction, the better off you’ll be in that intro class in the fall.

4. Do Puzzles, play games

In order to keep your mind sharp, it must stay active. Puzzles, games and apps do a great job of keeping your mind sharp while providing entertainment. Games and puzzles, like Scrabble and Sudoku, have an educational component that makes your mind work. It’s like exercise for your brain. These games will allow you to find your mind working even when you least expect it. Focusing on these games for more than just a few minutes on a regular basis will surely provide an intellectual boost well after the summer ends.

5. Write everything down

We all know the importance of note taking in college. Have you ever wondered why note taking is the method that teachers most often recommend for students? Or why it seems that writing your notes out helps you remember things easier? Without getting too scientific, the brain has different sections that it uses to filter out information. When you listen to a lecture for example, your brain has to work harder to filter out what you hear along with the capacity to write. That’s why writing things down makes it easier for you. Well, you can apply the same principles outside of the classroom as well. The more you write, the more you’ll end up helping yourself.

6. Read often

Reading exercises the mind and increases cognitive functions. “During the summertime I like to read at least two to three books just for pleasure. Reading during the summer gives me a chance to read without worrying about the stresses of a deadline. I find that my brain stays more engaged when I’m reading a good book versus when I’m not,” Georgia Southern senior Tyler Ansley said. Not only will reading keep your mind active, but it will also help you fight forgetfulness as you head into the fall semester.

Andrew is a fourth year Journalism major and Communication Studies minor at the University of Georgia. He is passionate about sports, music, TV, and film.

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