Stressing over Summer - The Importance of Taking a Break and Dealing with Burnout

“What are your summer plans?”
“Where are you interning this summer?”
“What will you be doing over the summer?

One of the most common questions you’ll encounter as an undergraduate student is: “What will you be doing over the summer break?” It often seems like in addition to the numerous hours of working and studying that goes into every academic semester, you should be utilizing the summer break to work, intern, volunteer, conduct research, or get involved in an extracurricular. While there are certainly many benefits that come with occupying a summer in that way, it can also be very draining and exhausting to constantly be on grind mode even after the semester ends.

But, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do anything every single summer. In fact, for the past three summers my schedule has been anything but free. From working a part-time job, to interning, to completing a summer program, the majority of my undergrad summers have been spent being very very busy. Despite how busy I was and how stressed I must have been at that time, I do look back at my previous summers with a lot of fond memories. I gained invaluable experiences, made amazing friends, and have gotten to explore different parts of the country. However, now that I’m approaching my last summer as an undergraduate student, I’ve decided to actually take advantage of the fact that summer break is “a break.” 

For the first time in a long while, I will not be doing an internship, completing a summer program, or working over the summer. Instead, I’ve decided to give myself time to rest and enjoy some free time before heading into my final semester at Yale. To be quite honest, I’m burned out and it’s taken a lot of reflection to acknowledge that. I’ve found it easy in the past to ignore the feelings of burnout and to keep pushing myself to work or stay busy during the summer. It’s easy to follow through on the pressure of needing to have summer plans and needing to be occupied with something throughout summer break. And so, I’m writing this blog to encourage my fellow Yalies to take some time off, if you are able, and to relax. 

Just because you decide not to intern or work throughout the summer does not mean that you’ll be sitting in your room watching Netflix all day (although that is both acceptable and definitely something I will be doing every so often). In my case, I’ve decided to take this next summer to catch up and spend time with friends and family who I haven’t seen in a while. Like I’ve mentioned before, my previous summers were spent being both very busy and in a city far away from my hometown. I’m also currently studying abroad in the UK so, I’m in desperate need of quality time with the people I hold most dear.

This summer I’ll also be tackling my to-be-read book list, which has been piling up these past few months. I’m excited to get back into the groove of reading for fun and am aiming to finish 10-15 books by the end of summer. I’m also going to set some time aside to begin working on my senior thesis as well as my applications for grad school and to start thinking about my post-grad plans. My upcoming summer will still be busy in a lot of ways but the major difference is that I’m not planning on being busy every single day throughout the entire summer. As I mentioned before, some days I’m going to be a complete couch potato, sleeping and binge watching TV shows. I’ve reflected on the burnout I’ve been experiencing and will be giving myself plenty of time this summer to relax and enjoy having time off. I’m no longer stressing over summer as I have done many times before. In fact, I’m nothing but excited for the summer ahead of me.