Here we are, right smack dab in the middle of summer. Summers in the GTA are so amazing. Amazing, but short. I make it a personal mission to have ice cream as often as possible and to wear shorts or dresses EVERY SINGLE DAY as before we know it, autumn will be upon us. I can already feel it getting cooler in the evenings and it’s starting to get darker earlier too… NOOOO!!!!
Because our summers go by so quickly, it’s important to start thinking about gearing up for school. Yes, I know it seems early, but September is just around the corner and if you put certain things in place now, the re-adjustment back into school mode won’t have to be so stressful.
Whether you are a student or a parent of a student, here are some tips that can help keep study skills sharp during these sunny July days!
1. Keep some sort of structure to your days
For some students, summer time can equal late nights and sleeping in till noon. And while this may be appealing, it can really throw off your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock that helps you sleep during the night and be alert and energetic during the day). If you spend 2 months staying up all night and sleeping all day, it can be a huge adjustment when it’s time to start back at school in the fall. It can cause you to have trouble waking up in the mornings or staying awake in class! My recommendation is to try to go to bed at a “decent” hour and to get at least 8 hours sleep per night. I also recommend trying to get up around the same time every morning to help your internal body clock stay somewhat balanced. And I get it, it’s summer, you have big plans, places to go, people to see, etc. Following the 80/20 rule where 80% of the time you go to bed at a decent hour, should help make the transition to 8:30am classes a bit easier to handle.
2. Try to read at least 1 hour per day
And it doesn’t have to be a textbook! Reading is an excellent way to keep your brain active. Reading anything such as novels, magazines, or articles can increase attention span, focus and concentration. You want to keep your brain in the habit of reading regularly so that it’s used to reading often when it’s time to hit those textbooks again. Reading for pleasure has also been linked to increased levels of happiness, so it’s a great habit to start regardless. If you plan to read close to bed time, then I recommend reading an actual book instead of reading something off of a screen, as the light emitted can disturb your body’s melatonin production (the hormone that regulates your sleep).
3. Review old notes once per week
Going over your notes and recalling previously learned information will help to ensure that content is stored in your long-term memory. This is especially important for foundational courses where you will need to know the basics in order to help you understand content in more advanced courses that you will take in future semesters. A great example of this is Anatomy and Physiology. This course is typically a first semester course and is so fundamental to your understanding of future courses such as Pathophysiology. Think about it…it is not possible to understand the abnormal structure and function of the body (Pathophysiology) if you do not first understand the normal (Anatomy and Physiology). For younger kids, brushing up and math and English can be a huge help, as the “Summer slide” has been said to cause students to lose approximately 2-3 months of skills. IXL is an awesome app that follows the Ontario curriculum and has modules for both math and English for Jk- grade 12. I personally use this app with my 7-year-old son on a daily basis to keep his summer sliding to a minimum!
4. Set realistic screen time limits and stick to them
Screen time continues to be a major issue for high school and post-secondary students. In my experience, many students are actually addicted and are spending upwards of 4-5 hours on their phones per day. Having more free time in the summer months means having even more time to be on your phone, potentially making that addiction worse. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend using screen time on iOS or AntiSocial on Android to set reasonable limits in order to curb that addiction now!
5. Have some fun
School can be stressful and it’s nice to be able to have a break to unwind and decompress. Taking some time to enjoy the beautiful weather, check out some of the many festivals around the city, or just get together with friends and family. Having some fun or some good ol’ rest and relaxation can really help to boost your spirits and recharge your batteries….and ice cream, don’t forget about the ice cream!
Hope that you found these tips helpful. Be sure to look out for even more of my top tips in Jo’s Summer Study Tips: Part 2 coming in the next few weeks. Happy Studying!