Working diligently on projects and internships, vacationing with family and friends, sleeping in past noon, and dedicating every moment of free time to meet your goals and do what you love is what summer is all about. Shifting gears from this relaxed vibe to a degree of restlessness as a full-time student is no easy task. I have met up with rising junior Azeezat Siyanbola, a pre-med student at Barnard College, for a short question and answer session to share her experiences and tips for a fruitful new school year. As we talk, she tells me how she sets goals, channels motivation, and spends her free time.
Nehad Abdelgadir: In order to have a productive and successful school year, what do you do during the last stretch of summer?
Azeezat Siyanbola: Thinking about the upcoming school year usually makes me nervous, so I don’t bother to open that bottle of energy until a week or so before school starts. I’ve now realized that I need to create better habits. I now plan ahead by writing down a list of goals to stay organized. I’ve even started thinking about next summer. Not because I’m planning 100 ways to have fun in the sun, but I am pushing to have an even more productive summer than this one. This entails starting to look for summer internships or research programs and planning out the steps I have to take towards submitting applications early spring, which is closer than it appears.
NA: What do you believe all students should do before the school year begins? Why?
AS: Students should enjoy every last bit of summer. If you are unable to travel then explore your city by doing things you may not normally do. This summer, I checked out cool food joints in NYC. The school year could be physically, mentally, and emotionally stressful, so rest up and enjoy as much as you can!
NA: Is there any easy way to re-adjust your sleep schedule?
AS: There isn’t an easy way to readjust a sleep schedule. Aside from the fact that I took more naps than I usually did during the school year, my sleep schedule did not change much. It won’t be an easy transition, and might be painful the first week, but hey—what can you do?
NA: How do you get back to school motivation?
AS: My motivation tends to be short lived, but as a rising junior conscious of time, things changed. My fear of senior year being around the corner works as my motivation. I have an image of a life that I wish to attain and live in and that image is what I tap into when my motivation rush plummets.
NA: Is there anything else you would like to share?
AS: Mental health and health in general—take care of it. Take your days. Even extroverts need a day in.
How do you prepare mentally and physically during the last few weeks of summer? Let us know in the comments!