After a difficult year, the summer vacation will come as a welcome and much-deserved respite to all those who have been navigating the challenges of remote learning, changing exam requirements, and disrupted plans and social activities. In addition to a chance to rest and recharge, though, the slower pace of the summer months also offers an ideal opportunity for students to get caught up on their IB requirements and ensure they can go into fall feeling ready, rested, and confident. Here are a few practical strategies for making the most of the months ahead.
Make a plan
As we have certainly learned over the last year and a half—not everyone requires the same set of circumstances to excel. Regardless of whether you flourished or struggled during the school year, though, the summer is a chance to reevaluate and do things on your own terms. Free from a set schedule and classroom obligations, now is the time to focus on what works for you.
The best way to maximize your summer vacation (while still ensuring you have plenty of time to relax and have fun) is to make a list of what you would like to have accomplished come fall and then create a plan for how you will get there. Setting up a few benchmark points throughout the summer will help keep you focused and ensure you avoid a stressful scrambling period right before school picks up again.
Start researching universities
A great way to stay motivated by what you are doing right now is to remind yourself of the role it plays in your future plans. From CAS to the Extended Essay, many aspects of the IB curriculum have significant benefits when completing your university applications. If you are planning to go to university directly after your IBDP, summer is a great time to do the bulk of your research. Many university application deadlines start popping up throughout the fall, and it is helpful to go into the school year aware of any important dates. We recommend that you start narrowing down a list of universities and a list of degrees that you may be interested in applying for and gather basic information regarding each one.
Finish your CAS project
During the school year, CAS is often praised for ensuring that students continue to lead a balanced life. Amidst the demands of academic rigor, CAS serves as a great opportunity to break from your studies, engage in some other activities, and compliment them through developing essential skills. That said, summer is also an excellent time for CAS and can be a perfect chance to complete your CAS project.
A large-scale project, taking at least a month from planning to completion and focusing on one or more of the 3 CAS strands, summer provides ample time to focus on a project that matters to you. Although many students get excited about the prospect of the CAS project, it can easily get sidelined when there are so many other obligations to worry about. Take advantage of the opportunity to dive into a meaningful CAS project.
Get some work experience
Depending on how much time you are able to commit, summer can be a wonderful time to get a bit of on-the-job experience and find out if you enjoy working in a specific industry. Of course, in addition to providing valuable insight into what you can expect as you enter into a given field, having some working experience or an internship under your belt can also help set you apart when it comes time for the university application process.
Find time to relax
It is vital to carve out some time during the summer break to relax and have fun. One of the most important things you can do to prepare for the next year and take care of your mental health is to recharge your batteries. Give yourself a few weeks to soak in the feeling of being free from obligation and enjoy your accomplishments from the last year.
Avoiding burnout is essential to maintain a well-rounded and sustainable approach to your education and success more broadly. Take advantage of the downtime, reflect on your educational experiences so far, and go into the new semester inspired and ready to realize your potential!
Cover photo credits: Caleb Woods via Unsplash