Figuring out how to balance work, school, and family life during the summer can be a challenge. You may be tempted to put classes on hold or postpone enrolling in college until the fall so that you can enjoy the summer months. However, taking a break or even waiting to enroll can delay you from achieving your goals and could even increase the potential that you won’t complete your degree. However, we’re here to help you find happiness and truly enjoy the summer while still pursuing your educational goals.
To assist you with the temptation to skip class during the summer months, we’ve got some suggestions on how to have fun while still going to school. Follow these tips, then tap into your creativity, imagination, and the many University of Arizona Global Campus resources available to create and plan the kind of fun that is perfectly suited for your situation and current family dynamic.
When you decide to start school during the summer (or continue with your classes), you might be tempted to take a break. But to help you resist, we’ve got a starter list of activities to choose from that can be worked into your busy schedule. In the end, you’ll be proud of yourself for getting out, going somewhere new, or planning a fun event. Plus you’ll show that you can be accountable, responsible, and dependable, like the super student you aim to be.
How to Plan for a Fun Summer While in School
Our first reminder to have a fun summer is to plan ahead for all your adventures. Get a planning calendar out and find a hard copy map of your area, then get your family together to discuss plans for how to make sure you make time for summer activities! Including everyone in the planning helps ensure you all feel included. Time management is a key characteristic of being a super student, so planning ahead should be a breeze.
Our second reminder is to check ahead of time for any COVID-19-related restrictions before going anywhere this summer or planning any activities, so you’re prepared and know all the current rules. Do your research in advance to make sure there are no surprises when you get to your destination.
Now that you have your planner handy and are ready to make use of your exception time management skills, take a look at these 14 ideas on how to have a fun summer while still pursuing your online college degree.
1. Find new, creative ways to celebrate holidays
Come up with new ways to celebrate all the upcoming holidays and events that hit during the summer months. Graduation parties, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. are all changing in regards to how they are celebrated. Get a meeting together or email others in your life to discuss innovative and creative ideas for fun that are well-suited for distance celebrating.
For example, this year will bring a special Fourth of July to all of us in the U.S. Get everyone (in your home, in your circle of friends, in your apartment building, in your family, in your neighborhood…) involved in decorating their homes, building, windows, patios, etc., in a big way now — ahead of time — for the Fourth of July. Be proactive (a super student trait!) and create a community of togetherness.
Once you have your patriotic red-white-and-blue decorations in place, they will look great and inevitably raise the spirits of everyone who sees them for weeks to come. Plus, the fun décor will be a reminder that you have the Fourth to look forward to mid-summer. There won’t be fireworks this year in most locations, and there won’t be large gatherings at parks and beaches, so it’s time to get creative and think of new ways to honor America the first weekend of July. Start with a simple idea, like having an old-fashioned BBQ.
2. Host a bike race
Love watching the multi-day bicycle stage race? Organize a mini version of the Tour de France road race in your community. A super student is cognizant of their surroundings. Are you familiar enough with your neighborhood to plan an event like this? If you’re looking to connect with others in your building, or neighborhood, this is a great way to start.
Set up racing categories for all ages, from the little kids to the senior cyclists. Determine a safe racecourse in advance. You can appeal to participants and spectators for unique types of donations to use as prizes for the winners: a ream of printer paper, a box of pencils, a can of beans, a book, or any other item that you might already have around the house. If golf is more your swing, host a Women’s Open in your backyard or at a local park. You can also go on a family bike ride.
3. Host your own local county fair
Since many summer fairs have been canceled, you could plan something similar. It could be in your backyard, your neighborhood, or online using Facebook Groups. Choose just one aspect of a typical county fair, such as the plant show, flower show, photography contest, painting competition, baking competition, livestock exhibition, beer garden, fried foods for sale, watermelon seed spitting contest, pig races, gem and minerals exhibition, live concerts, performances, petting zoo, carnival games, and so on. Pick a theme for your fair, pick a date, and spread the word! The possibilities are endless. Award prizes in each category, and share in the County Fair fun with others.
4. It’s gold medal time
Host your own backyard or neighborhood Summer Olympics! Got a pool? A patch of grass? Then you have swimming and gymnastics covered. Choose from an abundance of Olympic sports to compete in: archery, badminton, golf, diving, equestrian/dressage, handball, football, modern pentathlon, fencing, trampoline, table tennis, taekwondo, skateboarding, rowing, volleyball, sport climbing, track cycling, road cycling, water polo, weight lifting, freestyle wrestling, boxing, mountain cycling, beach volleyball, hockey, and more! Don’t forget to award gold, silver, and bronze “medals” to the top three winners in each event.
5. Get to a body of water near you
When the weather gets hot, there are plenty of places to have fun in the water: creeks, rivers, lakes, bays, swamps, oceans, pools, lagoons, and more. Why not plan a trip to a local water spot where you can safely enjoy water activities like swimming, boating, fishing, paddle boating, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, ferry rides, speed boats, inflatables, water skiing, rafting, diving, windsurfing, jet-skiing, whale watching tours, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, and so much more.
6. Seek adventure two hours away
You don’t need to go to an exotic destination or on a 7-day trip to get your fill. Just be sure to check what’s open in your area before heading out. Go on a drive (alone for a break, or with everyone for a quick road trip) to an interesting or educational destination that’s just under two hours away — far enough away to be an exciting trip to somewhere new, but close enough to be home before bedtime. Have you visited all the big cities in your part of your state? When’s the last time you got a map of your area and looked at it to see what points of interest are near you? You might be shocked to learn that a unique attraction like “gum alley,” “carhenge,” “Rainbow Rock Shop,” “Doll’s Head Trail,” “Lucy the Elephant,” the world’s largest kaleidoscope, “Margaret’s Grocery,” or “Monkey Island” is two blocks down in your own town!
7. Pack a picnic for a new place
Pack a deluxe picnic in your laundry basket or backpack, and head to an outdoor location in your town that you’ve never been to for a long afternoon outdoors. Depending on who’s going with you, bring outdoor games to entertain, such as a Frisbee, ball and gloves, football, soccer ball, water balloons, or maybe a bottle of wine, a board game, deck of cards, or a telescope for a more adventurous nighttime picnic. You can also just bring food if it’s a solo picnic. Getting outdoors in the sun is good for your mind and body!
8. Time to find a new place to study
Study in a different location at least once a week. When summer is here and the temperatures rise, it’s tempting to stay in the air conditioning all day, if you have it. Whether it’s sweltering inside or outside, it’s a good idea to get out and study at other locations once in a while, just to break the norm. It doesn’t have to be outside, but there’s something to be said for fresh air, especially these days. There are advantages and disadvantages to studying outside, so decide what’s best for you, but try to find a new place where you can actually concentrate and study. Wherever you decide to go, look up local Wi-Fi spots ahead of time. Consider taking homework that might be easier to complete on-the-go, like long reading assignments.
9. Yes, send the kids away!
When camps finally start opening again, right away for your sanity, send your kids to summer camp. Morning camp, all-day camp, weekend camp, any camp. Robotics camp, LEGO camp, dance camp, cheer camp. There are camps for everything including fishing, surfing, swimming, horseback riding, cooking, tennis, soccer, football, animals, math, theater, gymnastics, coding, and more. There are affordable YMCA day camps and endless camps in most communities.
Sending your child (of any age) to a day camp can help increase their confidence, help build social skills, and provide much-needed exercise. It also gives you a regular break that you can count on at a scheduled time, making it easier for you to schedule your day and set aside some prime time for classwork. You can also create your own summer camp at home for your kids. The 4-H Club has a STEM Lab website with summer camp-like activities for kids that are sure to keep them occupied while you do your work. You can even break up the study sessions by joining in the fun.
10. Add a new pet to the family
Adopt a pet? Maybe! If you have the space, time, resources, and dedication it takes to be a pet parent, then this summer is a great time to adopt a pet from a non-profit animal shelter. Do research in advance to know which pet is best for your family.
Many adoption agencies are overflowing with puppies and kittens waiting to be adopted. But there are other pets out there too that need a forever home. Spending a lot of time at home is a good thing when it comes to adding a pet to the family because you can give them the full-time attention they need, especially for younger pets. Look ahead to the future to ensure you can commit yourself to care for a pet for their lifetime. Go to your local animal shelter’s website for more information or to adopt a pet.
11. Use it or lose it!
Summer can be a time to rest and recuperate. But as psychology shows us, it’s vital to continue learning all year long. Call it the summer slide, summer slump, or summer learning loss, but whatever you call it, it’s a real thing. On average, students lose 2.6 months of learning in math over the summer. If you’re taking math classes, especially, consider regularly reviewing material you’ve learned. If you don’t use the skills you’ve learned on a regular basis, you could lose that information. You can avoid summer slump by continuing to take classes through the summer and also by creatively challenging your brain regularly.
12. Work on your brain
Believe it or not, it can be fun to exercise your brain. Whether it’s taking a class in a new subject, taking a timed test, or writing a paper, your brain is always at work. Give it an academic break, and do fun activities too once in a while.
Practicing a musical instrument is brain work, but also a great stress reliever. Use the math you’ve learned in your everyday cooking, shopping, and banking. Teach what you’ve learned to others in your family. Continue reading books for enjoyment too, not just for studying. At least one time this summer, try a new sport that might challenge you, like golf or tennis. Try writing about your COVID-19 experience, which can be creative brainwork that’s also therapeutic.
13. Take a break (or two or three)
Take frequent, short breaks when you’re doing long stretches of school work. Studying can be exhausting, and a little time away from the books can help restore your energy. Use that time away to do fun things with your kids, like a quick game of checkers or baking cookies together. Breaks help refresh you and help decrease some stress. Also, make a point this summer to consistently drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and focused.
14. Attend a virtual event (or two or three)
Although many in-person events have been postponed or canceled, many are still happening, just in a new way. For example, if you are a fan of San Diego Comic-Con and always wanted to attend, now’s your chance! Organizers of the beloved comics and pop culture expo are planning a digital gathering for fans dubbed “[email protected]” Or, you can attend a virtual renaissance faire. There are many options, so be sure to look into some of your favorite events (whether close by or across the sea) and you may just find that you can attend an event you otherwise may not have been able to enjoy.
Finding time for college as a busy adult, and enjoying your summer can help you achieve a well-earned balance. Contact Ahe University of Arizona Global Campus and get all the support and flexibility you need to be a super student in today’s busy world. The online courses offer you an opportunity to balance school, work, and family life while achieving your academic goals. From 24/7 tech support and courses done on your schedule to course material that you can review and work on anywhere, UArizona Global Campus is perfect for your busy lifestyle.
Contact an enrollment services advisor today, and find your balance!
Written by the University Staff.