Remember how much you used to look forward to your summers off as a kid? The last few days of school seemed to drag on (and on and on) as you became completely restless knowing that a much-needed break was just ahead.
Fast forward to today, your college years, and many students choose to forego that break, powering forward with their classes instead. After all, the sooner you can complete your program, the sooner you can start your dream career. The payoff is there.
So, does this mean that you have to give up all of your summer fun and spend June through August cooped up in the house, staring at your computer monitor? Absolutely not. In fact, here are six ways to enjoy your summertime activities (like you did when you were a kid) and still take online college courses at the same time.
1. Plan ahead.
When you have classwork due each week, it is going to be a bit more difficult to take an impromptu trip to the beach with summer-loving family and friends. However, that doesn't mean that you have to stay home all of the time because you don't. As long as you plan ahead.
If there is a summer event that you know in advance that you want to attend, like a family vacation that you take annually or a picnic that occurs on the same day every year, just work that into your schedule so you don't fall behind with your schoolwork during that time. You may have to double up on reading or homework some days, but if it means being able to do the things you look forward to every summer, then it will be well worth it.
2. Build extra time into your schedule.
Are you a last-minute type of person who always turns homework in pretty close to the deadline? If your answer is "yes," then it's likely that you're going to say no to a lot of summer offers because your procrastination doesn't leave much wiggle room in your schedule.
Instead, build extra time around your studies, planning to get your work in a few days early. That way, if something comes up at the last minute that you really want to do, you can participate without the fear that you're going to miss an important deadline.
3. Communicate with your instructors.
In the summer, it isn't uncommon for people to get away for a week or two at a time, traveling to another state or, in some cases, to another country. While many areas still have Internet access, this is not true for them all. Plus, sometimes you just want to unplug while you're gone, which can be difficult if you're taking online courses.
If this is how you plan to spend part of your summer, connect with your instructors as soon as possible and let them know this up front. Many times, they're able to accommodate by making other arrangements for you, such as by letting you work ahead of the rest of the class. This enables you to enjoy your vacation without risking that you'll fall behind in class.
4. Invest in a laptop.
Unless you plan to spend your entire summer in just one place, traveling during the warmer months while still staying up-to-date on your schoolwork will likely require that you have a laptop at your disposal. Though many students already have one, if you don't and budget is a concern, you don't have to deny yourself summer fun because there are a few options that are fairly affordable in nature.
In fact, PC Magazine has even done the work up front for you. In their article The Best Cheap Laptops of 2018, you'll find a wide variety of brands to consider. The best part? Some of them are only a couple hundred bucks.
5. Research local Wi-Fi spots.
Maybe you're the type of person who likes to travel a lot over the summer, and you don't mind doing your coursework while you're away. In that case, as long as you have Wi-Fi access throughout your journey, you're good to go.
Once you have your route planned, simply go to a site like Wi-Fi Space and look up that geographical area. Not only will it show you places with publicly available Wi-Fi, but if you click on a particular location, it also gives you the network name, making it super easy to identify which one you want to join when you're there. This helps you stay safe online, in addition to finding the fastest and most reliable network.
6. Go offline.
Even if the courses that you're taking this summer are online, that doesn't mean that you need the computer for all of the required work. If you're supposed to be reading a textbook, for instance, you can do that anywhere. So, why not take it to the beach and soak up some rays while also soaking up some knowledge?
The same is true for the Internet. As long as you have all of your research done beforehand, you can take your laptop with you to any remote location and finish your coursework without needing online access. And if you're a long way from home, simply stop someplace with Wi-Fi at some point to send it in.
It is possible to take online classes during the summer months while still having some fun. If you consider these six options, you should be able to enjoy a fun yet productive summer.