How Successful College Students Stay Motivated in the Summer
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By: Madison White, Uloop
Now that your student is starting or is already in university, much of their motivation will have to start coming from themselves. Unfortunately, summertime laziness can hit college students pretty hard, making it more difficult to start back up when fall arrives. Also, the amount of time spent in college seems like a lot but really goes very quickly.
At most colleges, if your student wants to stay competitive in their field and future job market, they’re going to have to try and maximize all of their time to the best of their ability. This isn’t high school anymore! There are much better things that your student can be doing than sitting around and being bored all summer. Of course, you want to make sure your student isn’t getting burnt out on school but also staying motivated enough to push through until the fall.
Here are a few things you can suggest that your student tries over the summer:
1. A relevant internship
Internships in your student’s chosen field are really the optimal way to spend a college summer. It gains them experience, connections, and sometimes even a little extra cash. Ideally, if your student is passionate about what they’ve chosen to do, an internship will be self-motivating because they’re immediately interested in what they’re doing.
If your student is on the fence about what they want to do, an internship can really show them what their future job could be like. It may be crucial to their decision in what major they choose to stick with. Don’t forget that the internships may qualify for credit hours through the school which means they could even be working towards their degree without having to take summer classes. This leads me to my next suggestion …
2. Summer classes
I know, I know, your student claims they need a break from anything academic related for at least the next three months. Really, what your student needs a break from is the toughness of a full schedule and pressure of major-specific classes.
Taking summer classes really is, I think, to maximize your student’s time in college. Just taking one or two summer classes will help keep their brain sharp and moving quickly down the path towards graduation. Many easy and elective classes are offered in the summer, so why not just get a couple out of the way so they don’t have to worry about them later?
Plus, many summer classes are also offered online, so it doesn’t require your student to live near their university to keep making progress. If your student is far away from their university who doesn’t offer online classes, check out the community college nearby. They will often offer loads of intro courses like English and algebra that are often required for all students to take. Another bonus, community college class rates are usually way cheaper — just make sure that they will transfer to their home university!
3. A summer job
Let’s face it, a lot of students have a great time meeting new people during their first year of college. However, many of them also return very, very broke. Instead of waiting for their next student loan to drop, you may suggest that they consider getting at least a part-time job, especially if they didn’t have one during the school year.
Summer jobs aren’t usually glamorous jobs and they usually require quite a bit of menial and boring work. However, if your student is spending all summer doing generally uninteresting work, it may motivate them to really take their studies seriously, get that degree, and work by doing something they love rather than something boring. It can also help them put things into perspective that yes, college is hard, but so is being an adult in general.
Jobs like this can help them learn that life as an adult isn’t always fun, but the steps you take to better yourself are always worth it. If they like their part-time job, it might even suit them to continue doing it when they start school in the fall.
Keeping your student motivated during the summer is all about finding the perfect balance. You want them to be able to relax and calm down after a stressful academic year/semester. Yet, if they have too much downtime, they may get bored, lazy, and complacent. At least some of their time should be going toward something useful for their future.
This could be anything from gaining that coveted job experience, saving a few dollars for books in the fall, or preparing for potential standardized exams. Remember that motivating your student isn’t as simple as you providing your student with motivation like money. Rather, it is about you helping your student uncover what naturally motivates them. Once you find out the magic ingredient of motivation, it’ll be something they can use for the rest of their life.
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