VRIEZEN: Follow a summer routine


Photo: Karuna Ang / Iowa State Daily

Leah Rodewald, sophomore in pre-diet and exercise, plays with Gabrielle, a black labrador and german shepherd mix, Tuesday, Nov. 9, on Central Campus.

Claire Vriezen

During the school year, I am a creature of habit and routine. I wake up at seven in the morning, go to class by eight, and spend the next several hours doing the daily dance of classes, homework, and extracurriculars.  With everything planned out at a specific time during the week, I tend to be a decently productive student. I do well in classes.  Come summer, however, things tend to change. 

Good habits — such as waking up in a timely fashion and having a structured day — are hard to form and easy to break.  After a semester of training myself to wake up at seven (and finding that once I had a bit of practice at training my body, it wasn’t all that bad), it’s only taken me a few days to break that habit.  I’ll probably keep sleeping late until I start taking a few summer classes that I have to get up early for.

As much as students love a break from school, without some semblance of structure, they’ll find their summer sllipping by before they know it. It may have been reasonable to let this happen in  those carefree high school days. College students, however, can’t afford to be so sanguine. We are called to spend our summers working, taking more classes, interning, or traveling. Soon, a day will come when we have completed our higher education. Few of the jobs we’ll be able to get after that come with the promise of an annual three-month break. 

I’m not saying summer must be all work and no play — just that college students have to budget their time carefully.  Though I’ve only been on break for a week, I’ve already let my morning routine falter. While I don’t expect to maintain a strict wake-up time, I have never been a fan of sleeping at all hours.

After you’ve made it through the grueling gauntlet of classes and finals, it’s tempting to give yourself a little time off to relax. But taking too much can breed bad habits.  While de-stressing is important, it can completely derail the lovely routine you established during the semester. Getting too lax can make it hard to accomplish those more “adult” summer activities, such as working, taking a few extra credits or interning. 

Those who yield to the temptation of summer backsliding may be in for a rude awakening when classes start again.  It’s tempting to do all you can to forget what a normal school day is like in college, but this will only result is selling yourself short in the present and the future.  Those who lack a daily routine — be it based on your learning, working or simply reading a book every week — can end up wasting their summer. 

So even if you aren’t set up to do anything in particular this summer, do all you can to keep yourself busy.  Read.  Exercise.  Take up a hobby. Even if you don’t have an internship or a summer class, do yourself a favor and try and wake up at the same time each day. Don’t stay up until all hours. It doesn’t hurt to set a schedule and follow it, either. Good time management habits shouldn’t be broken just because school is out.