This is Your Brain on Summer

Tobias Hope-Young


Summer is nearly upon us: It’s time to relax, party hard and relax some more.

But it can’t all be fun and games because you need to stay on top of your intellectual game or else you might end up returning to school having forgotten everything you learned last winter.

Educators call this the “Summer Learning Loss,” a fairly self explanatory syndrome that negatively impacts students when they take it too easy over the break.

How can you catch some sun while still keeping the lessons you learned in that brain of yours? The real solution is to keep a study schedule and take summer classes, but for the rest of us who aren’t gluttons for punishment and are fans of having downtime, here are three tips for staying sharp over the summer.

Tip 1

Schedule time every day to study. Chances are, if you can avoid doing a task with no immediate consequences, you will. Summer may seem infinite, but all good things come to an end. Guard yourself and your time with a schedule that allocates time every day for reviewing past academic information. If you can keep the monster away from that time then your fight is halfway complete — what should you study?

Tip 2

Study for past tests, especially ones you’ve taken and may not have done so well on. Remember those flashcards you made to cram for that test? Remember those study guides that you spent long nights filling out? I hope you didn’t set fire to them in a case of end-of-school-year-euphoria, because they make for perfect study materials even after the fact.

Of all the academic gear you have built up in your cluttered binders, only the study guides and flashcards truly matter. You don’t have to hit the books every day — just be sure to give them a tap once in a while.

Tip 3

Read a book. Despite how hard you may party or how much you may travel over the summer, you won’t forget how to read (although some persistent partiers have come close). But that doesn’t mean you should give up on reading altogether. The ability to read a dense text and glean purpose from the passages is a skill that can be dulled with lack of use. You need to exercise that muscle or else it will atrophy.

What’s more, reading has numerous health benefits, studies indicate that it can extend readers lifespan and even improve ones sleep quality.

The responsible student side of you wants to look over next year’s reading materials, but the fun seeking part of you would rather eat rancid whale blubber than go through something so monotonous. The best solution would be to find some sort of middle ground for the two and find something that you will want to read that is still challenging for your reading level.

And there you have it: hopefully some easy-to-follow strategies to stay ahead of your less-motivated classmates.

Only time will tell if you actually follow through on this. And that’s okay! Just try and pick a time to study, save those papers (despite your urge to incinerate them) and find something to read, and no, this article does not count.