How to stay sharp over the long summer months

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

Summer. Three months out of the year where students can choose to spend their time in any way they choose. From taking summer classes to participating in an internship to spending time with loved ones, there are plenty of ways to stay busy while school is not in session.

After a year filled with classes, tests, projects, work and extracurricular activities, many students may choose to spend their summer vacation by relaxing and unwinding.

While this is important for busy college students, it does not have to be all that your summer consists of. The summer months are a perfect time to learn something new or create something of your own that can be beneficial in the long run.

For those looking to stay engaged this summer, here are a few tips and tricks to help get you started.


Regardless of if you are traveling this summer, participating in study abroad or just eager to re-download the Duolingo app, learning a new language is always valuable as it can improve communication skills and expose you to new cultures. If you are looking for a place to start, Spanish, French, German, Arabic and Mandarin are some of the languages that are commonly spoken across the globe. In addition, there are many apps, websites and books available with a variety of languages to choose from to help you on your language-learning journey. Some common ones include Duolingo, Babbel and Memrise. If you would prefer to learn from an in-person instructor, consider taking a foreign language summer class at a local community college near you.


Take a break from your phone and computers this summer and engage in some summer reading by taking a quick trip to your local library or bookstore. From science fiction to mystery to creative nonfiction, there are a variety of genres to choose from, so you should have no trouble finding something that interests you.

Joining a book club is another great way to get back into reading, as it allows you to experience and enjoy a book with a group. It may also expose you to different types of books that you may not have read before. If reading books is not your thing, consider trying graphic novels, magazines or newspapers.

There are many options out there ready to help bring out your inner bookworm.


Career fair season is quickly approaching, and the summer is a great time to work on any additional skills you may want to add to your resume.

For example, you may want to learn a new coding language that you think will be useful for future classes, internships or the work-force.

Engineering and science majors may want to use this time to become more familiar with common software such as Solid- works, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) or MATLAB.

Additionally, you can practice your presentation skills by exploring different presentation platforms or new features within platforms you are already familiar with. Incorporate in a little oral communication as you present to an audience of friends or family, and you will be career fair-ready in no time.


Whether you are a computer science, engineering, science or liberal arts major, writing is an important skill that will always be useful in any path you choose to pursue. Therefore, it is important to practice writing whenever you can to ensure you are comfortable with different styles. Creative writing is a great way to start, as it encourages one to think outside the box and experiment with writing styles.

There are many creative writing prompts online that you can refer to, or you can even create your own prompt for a story.

Whatever helps get those creative juices flowing. Other writing styles to try include technical writing, poetry, screenwriting and journalistic writing.


With no classwork or in-class projects to keep you busy, why not try pursuing an independent project of your own? This can be as simple as applying the skills you learned in your computer science class to create a website or game or expanding on your crafting skills to start your own small business. No matter what project you end up pursuing, make sure that it is something you are passionate about, as this will make the project more enjoyable for you during the summer months.

Summer is meant to be a time for relaxing and taking a break from school, but it is still important to use this time to engage in educational experiences that will help support you in your collegiate journey!