Brace Yourself! The Summer is Coming
Summer break was the one I was looking forward when I got stuck in library doing assignments and reading sessions. Summer break in the United States is usually much longer compared to the one in Indonesia. During my undergraduate studies, I mostly had around 1.5-2 months for summer break. In the United States, the summer break takes around 3 months, from June until August. There are still some classes going on in the university, which they call the summer session. To those who do not have to take summer classes, this long period of time may give a big pressure to spend a good one.
Summer break is basically the time that can be used to have a “pause” from your routines. It is to stop once in a while when you jog, just to catch the breath or enjoy the view of your jogging track before you continue to the finish line. People have different ways to enjoy their summer break, which is fine since there is no right or wrong in this case.
How to Plan Summer Break
Usually, planning your summer break can be started anytime, even when the semester started. In fact, it is advisable to start planning ahead as you might need a couple of months to secure an internship, if that is what you want to do. You can start planning by brainstorming ideas by talking to your friends and professors and by being open to any ideas before you weight down your options. Visiting career center might also help you to get ideas. Think about what your mind and body need also, as you will need to come back for classes refreshed. Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with enjoying idleness, or taking some time to go travelling. If that is what you need to rejuvenate, include them in your summer plan.
My Summer Activities
I used the opportunity during my summer break in my first year, back in 2015, to have a work experience as research assistant in my department. There was a professor who had a research project on local government proliferation in Indonesia and I had the responsibility for data analysis. During the same summer break, I also spent time travelling across southwest. It was one of a great experience since I did travelling with mostly people I did not know before. The excitement to travel during the summer to some new places with new people after having an intense semester is incredible. It seemed so hard at first to plan the summer vacation during reading sessions or solving problem sets in library. After all, it was worth a lifetime experience.
Taking Summer Courses
Some people may also take summer classes during the summer break. Usually the summer class sessions are divided into two and we can choose either one or both. Taking summer classes, when it is outside of your study program, may be the option if you want to set the priority for the rest of your semesters. For example, some people prefer to take one class in summer so that in fall semester, they have less classes to take and it will make the semester easier.
Having an internship is also a good way to spend the summer break. The experience can be fun and it might benefit to your career since the internship will shape your perspective in real world after graduating.
Going home for a summer break might also be a nice thing to do, and a way to boost your energy. For those of you who plan to return home after graduation, besides spending time with your loved ones, spending time at home might provide you with opportunities to build network.
No “One Rule Applies All”
It takes to each one of us to decide what would be the best way to spend our summer break. As long as the summer break makes us happy and recharged, then there is no generic answer to everyone. If we push ourselves too hard without having a break, we might end up getting really exhausted and being contra-productive. We know ourselves better than anyone, so let’s self-reflect on our journey and make the most out of it, in our own way.
All other illustrations are photos by the author unless otherwise stated.
Andrea Adhi currently works as a research associate at J-PAL Southeast Asia. Prior to joining J-PAL, she worked at the Republic of Indonesia’s National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K). She was a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Professional Fellow in 2014. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree from Universitas Gadjah Mada in 2012 and a master’s degree from Boston University in 2016, both in economics major. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys watching art and music performance, playing piano and ukulele, or wandering around with her adventurous mind.