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Transitioning into Summer

I am writing this final article of the 2016-2107 school year to the students as they head off into their summer adventures. It must be that division heads like lists, because Mr. B and I have both prepared some tips for the transition to summer. If you bother to read both, you will find similarities and differences. Neither list is intended to be complete, so use this a starting point to make your own plan to make the most of your summer. Summer “break” can take many forms. Some students may transition quickly into a new summer reality of having a job, going to camp, participating on summer sports teams, volunteering, or job shadowing. Others may not have much planned and are looking forward to some “down time.” No matter what the plan, here are a few suggestions in no particular order:
  1. Develop habits and patterns early! As you transition into summer, you may find that you have more control over your schedule than during the school year (what you do and when). Develop routines that keep you active and engaged. Limit passive activities such as your screen time (whether television or your computer) to the end of the day or as a “reward” after completing something. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up at a reasonable hour. Changing your pattern to being more nocturnal will result in less time outside in the sunshine, which is a big part of what makes summer so special.
  2. Get outside and exercise! It’s good for your body, your brain, and your mood! Build some form of exercise into your daily routine.
  3. Reach out and engage with friends early and often! When possible, make plans with your existing friends and look for opportunities to hang out with “new” friends. When appropriate, invite friends to join you in your family events.
  4. Spend time with your family! Despite the above suggestion, dedicate some time to being with your family alone, without friends. This could be as simple as dinner, barbecues, a day at the beach, a hike, or whatever you and your family enjoy doing. Make sure that family time is not always overshadowed by your friends.
  5. Proactively take on some chores at home. Offer to help out and take on some of the tasks that need to be done like mowing the lawn, watering the garden, or doing dishes.
  6. Make a summer bucket list and try something new! Make a list with your family (and/or by yourself) of some of the things you want to do over the summer. Include ideas from everyone and post it on the refrigerator or somewhere everyone can see it. Make the list attainable, but also fun-filled, ambitious, and unique. Be open to new things and include something you have been wanting to do but haven’t yet made the time.
  7. Read! Read things that intrigue and inspire you. Read what makes you laugh or cry.
While it is normal to feel a bit tired from the school year and deserving of a break, it can also be a mistake to plan to “do nothing” for the first several days, as it can turn into a pattern for the summer of sleeping late, binge watching Netflix, or passively waiting for something fun to find you. Instead, create the summer you want to have each and every day. Make it full of both adventure and relaxation. Trust me, it will be over before you know it—better to have one that you wish would never end.

I leave it up to each of you to determine if you think something is missing from the list above. Make this list your own, adapt it, or add to it. Whatever you do, have a fantastic summer!

Ben Dougherty
Head of Upper School
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The Derryfield School

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