If you're anything like me, it can be hard to fall asleep at the pool with the looming stress of the next semester already hanging over you. Maybe you're worried about getting your GPA up, dreading your bank account balance after buying textbooks, or struggling to balance fun and a summer class or internship. Even when I'm not at school, the stress of school still seems to cling to me.
It's important to remember that you need to relax sometimes to be successful
As impossible as it may seem to stop comparing yourself to your peers or to slow down for a few days, it's crucial to your mental health and future endeavors that you learn how to balance work and play now. It can't be all one or all the other. It's great to be a student, but you have to be a person, too.
My advice would be to indulge in your favorite hobbies this summer, while you have time away from a full course-load. Go to the gym more often than you would at school, take a painting class, learn something new in the kitchen, or even just read a book in your backyard. Giving yourself more time to do what you genuinely enjoy will refresh you to buckle down as soon as the fall semesters arrives.
Relaxing a bit now enables you to push yourself harder later
You can't run forever on an empty tank. Use the summer months to fill up and make memories! When you look back on college, of course, you want to be able to gloat about your grades and academic accomplishments but you'll also want friends to laugh with about dorm life and the dining hall, stories to make your kids look forward to one day going to college themselves, and memories that you'll cherish for the rest of your life. The student is very important, and when you work, you should work as hard as you can. But the person is equally important, and he or she will be with you even longer than the student.
So as you search for a summer job or a research opportunity or stress about taking that hard class in the fall, remember to take a step back sometimes. Keep pushing toward your goals, but push toward being happy where you are now, too.
The destination (a steady job, a cute family, a white picket fence) is beautiful, but the journey of college is just as worthwhile
Never take your eyes off where you want to be, but never forget where you came from or take for granted where you are now. In the blink of an eye, the friends you have might live across the country and the hobbies you love might not fit into your schedule anymore. So enjoy them while you're here. Balance your present and your future.