Staying Cool And Productive in the Summer

5 Tips To Stay Productive When It’s Hot And You’re Melting

Show that pesky summer drowsiness who's the boss!

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Danny and Sandy were completely right when they were infatuated with "those summer nights," but especially because these summer days suck the productivity and enthusiasm right out of me. I classify summer as the specific days of the year when I can seriously relate to the Wicked Witch of the West. I haven't yet become a puddle, but I'm one non-air conditioned room away from it.

Although I might not be literally going through a phase change from solid to liquid, my brain definitely feels goopy when I have work to do and I can't concentrate because of the temperature. And what's worse? When I actually love the project that I'm working on in my own time and I still can't get things done because I'm taking on my true calling to become an oven-roasted turkey.

It's taken a few excruciatingly-long summer vacations for me to figure it out, but I finally have some tips for surviving the heat and conquering your goals.

1. Find times to work when it's cooler

The best way to avoid the heat getting to you is to avoid using your brain beyond its basic functions (not literally) when it can't handle it. Now, this sounds both self-explanatory and possibly like the root of your unproductivity. But think about it. If you use your brain when it's the most effective, then you're going to be the most productive.

Now, for myself, I have found that I get the most done before 10-11 a.m. and after 5-6 p.m. depending on the day's weather. So, in the time between I just don't use my brain for mental work when I know it will only come unprepared and unwillingly.

Instead, during those times, I do my household chores, finish some housekeeping/administrative business, and clean up my inbox. Also, this is the best time for me to go out with my friends because I need the break anyway.

Find which times work for you and prioritize your mental energy for those hours.

2. Set up a room ahead of time

Now, if you've been in your home/apartment/office for a while now, you generally know the space well enough. Even if you don't, you will tend to have a bit of space that is your own. Keep this room set up for your working purposes for the day-to-day.

This means keeping all your belongings together in a bag or on a table so you don't find yourself needing to get up and around. Staying generally in one place (besides taking those necessary breaks) allows concentration to take place and I have found that I stay way cooler. I also keep a fan oscillating around me, or sometimes prep the room with the AC at a higher temperature. Keeping that moving air will allow the room to feel livable, but won't give you a headache.

3. Pick yourself up and go outside

I know. I might as well suggest a light dip in a volcano while I'm at it. But, taking those 10-15 minutes to get out of your apartment and going to work in a café can help a lot.

Now, if you don't study well outside of your space, then this might not be the most useful advice. However, when I really start losing it, I make an executive decision to pack up my belongings and go to a Starbucks or a bookstore. The change of scenery restarts my brain, I end up being surrounded by equally motivated people, and if you don't have AC, this could be where you cool down just a little.

4. If you're a napper, stay away from beds and sofas

Drowsiness in the middle of the day is my worst enemy. Like, my actual mortal nemesis. Horns, cape, and lime-green Disney villain highlighting: the works.

I know that I prefaced this section with "If you're a napper..." but honestly, even if you're not one, the heat can make one out of you. This goes for me. I rarely nap when the weather is more manageable, but the moment a heat wave strikes, catch me grabbing ZZZs at 2 p.m. And I really hate it especially when I've had a restful night already.

I do everything I can to not be totally comfortable while studying. This might not work for everyone, and if you have certain physical requirements or limitations, this might be counter-effective. But, I tend to stay away from my bed, my sofas, and generally cloth surfaces. If I don't I both end up wanting to sleep, and the cloth tends to retain heat.

5. Stay hydrated

Pretty self-explaining. Drink healthy amounts of water and coconut water so that your body stays healthy and alert. I limit drinks like coffee/tea and avoid energy drinks that can dehydrate me and cause my body to crash harder in the heat. Keep your kidneys happy!


Those are just some hacks that have helped me stay as happy and energetic as I can in previous summers, and I'll continue to do so in this one. Find what works for you and go do that cool thing that you've been putting off during the academic year.

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40 Small Things That Make College Students Happy

It doesn't take much...
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1. When class is canceled.

2. When the coffee shop you stop at five minutes before your 8 a.m. has a short line.

3. Coffee, coffee, coffee.

4. Open note tests.

5. Or even better, take home tests.

6. The unofficial assigned seating process that that takes place after the first week or so of classes.

7. Thursday nights. (because in college, Thursday qualifies as the weekend.)

8. Sales.

9. Or once again, even better, free things.

10. Specifically free food.

11. Dogs.

12. Dogs on campus.

13. Tailgates and Saturday afternoon football games.

14. Finding an already completed Quizlet for your exam.

15. Having an extra 30 minutes for a nap, and if you're lucky, an hour.

16. Netflix.

17. When your roommate takes out the trash.

18. Weekends after test weeks.

19. The rare blessing of a curve on an exam.

20. Getting out of class early.

21. How in college, it is socially expectable to wear a t-shirt everyday.

22. Being able to walk from class to class or eat in the dining hall without having to see anyone you know. (and thank goodness too because you probably don't look too good.)

23. Crossing things off of your to-do list.

24. Your best-friends that you make in college.

25. A full tank of gas.

26. Seeing a new face everyday.

27. Crawling back into bed after your 8 or 9 a.m. (or after any class that ends with a.m.)

28. Care packages.

29. No cover charges.

30. When adults tell you that it is okay that you have no idea what you want to do with your life yet. (regardless of what parents or your advisor may say.)

31. Pizza.

32. Finding out you weren't the only one who did poorly on the exam.

33. Deciding not to buy the textbook, and never needing it.

34. Finding the perfect gif to express how you're feeling. (Michael Scott just get it.)

35. Weekends at home because...

36. Pets.

37. Mom's home cooked pie and Dad's steak dinners,

38. Spring Break.

39. Road trips.

40. When it finally starts to cool down outside so you can show up to class dry instead of dripping in sweat.

Cover Image Credit: Abigail Wideman

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Everyone Should Experience Working In Fast Food Or Retail

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it.

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I know these jobs aren't glamorous. In fact, most days I looked forward to clocking out before I had even clocked in. I always secretly rolled my eyes when an angry customer droned on and on about how entitled he or she was. Though I can name a lot of bad things that happened on the job, it wasn't all horrible. As I reflect on my time working in fast food, I realize how much having that job really taught me and how grateful I am to have had that experience. I really think everyone should work in fast food or retail at some point, and here's why:

You make some great friends from work. I get it, sometimes your co-workers are royal jerks or flat out creeps. You see your name on the schedule next to theirs and immediately try switching with someone else. I've been there. However, I have worked with some amazing people as well.

Every time I worked with one girl in particular, we laughed for entire shifts. One night, we were singing the national anthem at the top of our lungs without realizing a customer had come in (to our surprise, she applauded our terrible screaming). Another coworker and I turned up the radio on full blast when business was slow and had dance battles. We made the most of our shifts, and I still talk to some of these people today.

You learn how to deal with difficult people. It's the age-old story: the uppity customer thinks twelve dollars for a meal combo is outrageous and Where is your manager?!

My friend and I were once called stupid and a customer said he would never come back to our restaurant to eat ever again. At the moment, we were scared out of our minds because we were both pretty new to the job. As time passed, we became more patient and tolerant and knew what triggered these particular customers. Dealing with these adversities definitely helps in the long run, particularly when it comes to doing group work with people who seem unbearable.

Your people skills increase by a landslide. I had always thought that I was great with people before I had a job. However, when I found myself in situations where I had to talk to strangers, I would grow nervous and stumble across my words from time to time. Working in an environment where communicating with others is a driving force helped me not only with improving my public speaking, but also made me more outgoing. In situations where I once backed into the corner to avoid having to talk to someone, I now take charge and initiate a conversation.

You establish a connection with regular customers. My favorite customer was named Jack. He was the sweetest old man who came in every Wednesday and Friday and bought food for himself and his wife. I quickly memorized his order, which impressed him. We shared pleasantries every time he came in, and my coworkers and I looked forward to seeing him.

Establishing a relationship with people who come in a lot helps immensely when it comes to working. It also provides a sense of accomplishment when you memorize an order. Not to mention, the customers start to like you and typically leave a generous tip!

You have stories to tell for a lifetime! Sometimes bad things happen at work. Once I was holding a hot pan and burned my arm— I still have the burn mark on my arm to prove it. My point is, it sucked at the moment, but now I look back and laugh.

One time I asked my coworker how to make soup and she replied, "Slowly, but beautifully." It was so nonchalant that I cracked up for hours. There was also a time when a customer asked me for outlandish toppings and condiments that we didn't offer. The craziest story, though, was the drug deal that went down in our public restrooms. My coworker and I obviously could not leave our station and follow these people into the bathroom, so we were pretty much defenseless. Nobody got hurt or anything, so it made for a great story.

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it. It made me more independent and outgoing and gave me memories I'll never forget.

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