Don't waste your summer: How to keep your brain active between semesters
We're all guilty of walking into our first class after a lengthy learning hiatus and wondering why we can't seem to open up a textbook, let alone remember how to write a paper or lab report. Known as the "Summer Learning Loss," this phenomenon has been the topic of numerous scientific studies attempting to explain why our brains essentially shrink during summer vacation. This isn't to say you shouldn't enjoy your vacation, but instead of letting your mind idle with countless hours at the beach, you should take the time to exercise your thoughts - your future self with thank you.
Get an internship
So many students are overcome with boredom during the three-month-long vacation and find themselves staring at a television or computer screen instead of making productive use of their time. Summer internships are a great way to get a leg-up on job prospects whether or not you continue with a specific field of study.
Some of the biggest companies in the world offer paid and unpaid internships, including the internet megapower Google. Physics, mathematics and computer science students can apply to Google's technical internship program for three months at a time.
You don't have to devote your entire summer to an internship and can even find a company near your hometown or abroad where you can gain valuable experience while still finding plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine.
Take a fun summer school course
Whether you're going home or staying near your college campus over the summer, you can enroll in an art or music class to stimulate parts of your brain that might see little action over the academic year. Music education has proven to improve brain function and whether you know how to play the guitar or don't know the first thing about any instrument, you won't regret taking the plunge and gaining a new skill. Plus, when you get back to school you can serenade your friends with an acoustic version of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face."
Summer vacation is also a perfect time to get core courses out of the way, many of which are available online. By day, you can go on excursions and spend time with family and friends and by night, you'll keep your brain buzzing with newfound knowledge.