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If Only Summer Was Endless: Facing the Beginning of a New School Year

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

How to Carry Summer Energy into a New Semester and Beat the End-of-Summer Shlump

The sun still sets after 8 p.m. and my shorts, sandals and sundresses are far from being retired for the season. But yet, a new school year has begun. Classes are pushing forward at an almost jarring pace and extracurricular activities and jobs are back in full swing. Do our professors and employers have no sympathy for the shift we’re experiencing? Do we really have to toss summer to the wind like it’s over, even when the thermostat says differently? 

No matter how often I experience the transition from summer life at home to college life at school, it’s never smooth. I’m a self-proclaimed summer lover. Heading to the beach, watching the sunset on a picnic blanket and sipping smoothies with garden-fresh raspberries are my forte. How am I supposed to just let go of all those lovely things and give them up for hours inside a dingy library squinting confused at blue-light screens?

Even though I’m still actively rejecting the reality of changing seasons and a new semester, I am trying to lessen this burden by consciously taking steps to weave my favorite aspects of summer into this new school year. Let’s look at this using the “when life gives you lemons” lens: the school year is giving you almost-too-tart lemons and the summer had given you perfectly ripe strawberries, so let’s make some strawberry lemonade together!

1) Plan for the worst, hope for the best (I promise it won’t be the worst).

The first bit of advice I have for beating the end-of-summer shlump is to over-prepare. Let’s get ready for a disaster! A disaster won’t happen, but it will be nice to get off to a strong start of your school year rather than trying to keep up with a current that has already swept you away. A weekly planner offers the perfect amount of preparedness to maintain control. I write out events, classes and my work schedule for each day so I never feel like I’m forgetting about something. I use the planner for school assignments and upcoming exams or projects as well. Planners aren’t a historically fun thing, but let’s just decide to make them fun this semester! Add some doodles or motivating quotes to spice up a normally mundane thing. No more shedding tears over silly little forgotten assignments!

2) Make time for yourself.

One of the sweetest parts of summer is the free time that comes with it. While you may have been working a job or taking a summer course, the intensity of work in the summer is usually a little bit less than that of the school year. So when the school year rolls around and you’re feeling swamped, it’s important to intentionally schedule time for fun or for nothing. Yes, I said it: nothing. We can be so go, go, go that we forget that rest and leisure are human necessities. Scheduling 30 minutes of splaying out on your couch or calling a friend can be the difference between a great day and a “blah” day. 

3) Lean on the people who fill your cup.

Lastly, it can be difficult to enjoy the day-to-day in the fall semester as motivation often feels out of reach. One of the best ways I ground myself and my thoughts is by spending time with my core people. Summer is, in part, so lovely because I get to rekindle all my relationships with my friends and family at home. Reminding myself that these people are just one phone call away puts me at ease. Sometimes our schedules during the school year become so crazy that we think we don’t have time for a simple phone call or meal with a friend. It’s always after these chats that I feel refreshed and heard. All the emotions that we feel when entering a new environment—no matter how many times we’ve done that transition—are valid and worth feeling through. The people we love are the best at reminding us that we are understood and cared for. We can also use the love they show us as a model for how we should treat ourselves.

While the fall semester trades pool days and star gazing for hours-long lectures and schedule juggling acts, we can use simple steps to get through this transition. I encourage you to be gentle with yourself and give yourself grace as we navigate the end of summer. We got this!

Lucy is a senior at Saint Louis University studying occupational therapy. In her free time—if she has any—you may find her curating music for her DJ gig with KSLU radio, shooting hoops at the Rec Center, or drinking a fun little beverage. Her writing is like her life: sporadic, passionate, full of energy, and a bit all over the place.