Gloria Mak, Howl Staff
For many students, the end of the spring semester seems to open up an expanse of idle time lacking the structure of classes and deadlines to meet. Here’s a list of eight things to do with your spare time so you don’t watch it ticking away!
1. Find out how many hours of sleep you actually need
It is a pity that so many people equate studenthood with a lack of sleep—but it is inevitable when one has to juggle coursework, a social life and, more often than not, a job. When things calm down during the summer, find out how many hours of sleep you actually need by conducting a sleep experiment: get in bed around the same time each night without turning on the alarm clock. Record the time at which you wake up (the moment you open your eyes. Not when you wake up and roll around in bed for a couple of hours) and calculate how many hours you slept that night. The average number of hours that you sleep per night over the week will indicate how many hours you actually need in order to feel rested. By finding out, you can schedule your time to include this amount of sleep each night so that you can wake up the next morning with a productive mind.
2. Calculate your finances
What percentage spending goes towards rent? Going out? Food? Beer? Dates? Do you have any money set aside for emergencies? A lot of students don’t know the answer to these questions. It may be wise to find out and see where you can cut corners from now on and save up for an emergency fund if you don’t already have one.
3. Update your resume
If you’re still looking for a summer job, now is not a bad time to update your resume. It’s also good to look at your resume and see what section needs some bulking up, whether it is job or volunteer experience. If you’re taking off the summer semester, then it would be prime time to work on those sections before it’s too late.
4. File your files and spring clean your inbox
Between that essay you have to submit by midnight and studying for next week’s midterm, most students don’t file anything and their e-mail inbox ends up looking like something from a Hoarders rerun. With the spare time on hand, get organized before school and have a head start in the new semester!
5. Research post-graduation opportunities/requirements
It is never too early to start planning for the future, and this is especially true for post-graduation opportunities and requirements. How many courses more do you need before your graduation? What sort of schedule should you be on to study for the GMAT , LSAT or MCAT? Are there internships available for the industry field you wish to enter upon graduation? Planning is inversely proportional to stress — the more planning you do early on, the easier life will be as you transition from undergrad.
6. Pick up a new skill
Enlarge your skill set over the summer by picking up a new one. Not only will it look good on a resume, you might end up with a new hobby for the school year! Even if you don’t, it will be a great conversation piece.
7. Touch base with friends, colleagues and parents
Over the school year, communication with people not in your immediate social circle may have diminished drastically, so take the time to send an e-mail out to a friend back home. Keeping relationships strong is always plus for a healthy and diverse social life.
8. Experiment with a new exercise and diet plan
For those gym rats out there, starting a new exercise/diet plan can be hard during the school year because sticking to a certain routine is always more convenient. Now you have four months to try out a schedule that you had wanted to try over the school year.: high intensity interval training, P90X, a low-carb, high-protein diet and weightlifting.