Hello summer! It’s the season of flip-flops and sunburn, ice cream and road trips, fireworks and barbecues. And, if you’re one of the thousands of college students staying on for the summer semester, it’s the season of textbooks and lectures, term papers and exams, coursework and study groups.

    But you don’t have to let a summer semester kill all the fun of July and August. Here’s how to ace your classes this summer and get some fun in the sun, too:

    1. Study outdoors

    You don’t need to be a beach bum to get a killer tan this summer. Grab your books and some friends, then throw a study party at a local park, outdoor café or scenic waterfront. There’s nothing like some summer air to get those brain cells chugging. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

    2. Build breaks into your schedule

    You need to keep your average up, but you also need to breathe every once in a while. Don’t turn yourself into a martyr this summer just because everyone else is off having fun while you’re lugging around a stack of textbooks. Build short breaks into your study schedule and use them to grab an ice cream cone, go for a mile run, or just for chilling. These small bursts of fun will help you avoid burnout and keep your mind crystal clear for late-night cramming sessions.

    3. Take a hike

    Grab your hiking boots and a pair of earbuds and then head out to ol your favorite trail. You’ll get your workout, your fix of outdoor air and your studying done, all at the same time! Tune into a recorded lecture or a podcast on your course subject and let the info sink in while you hike. Build your muscles and your brainpower at the same time!

    4. Make the most of weekends

    Instead of crashing into bed over the weekend or hitting your books again, pack those spare hours with as much summer fun as you possibly can. Plan a trip to a nearby amusement park, join the crowds at the beach or try any other local getaway. One day of total fun will give you the boost you need for another week of hard work.

    5. Hit the road

    If your summers always involve packing into the car, cranking up the radio and watching the miles roll by as you work your way through numerous bags of Doritos, get ready to hit the road!

    While you can’t exactly skip tomorrow’s double anatomy and physiology class when the open road is calling, you can still take short car trips on weekends and during your afternoons off. Instead of setting off for a cross-country trip, settle for a spot a few hours away — or even a few states over, if you can swing it. Bring your notes along and let one friend play the part of professor as they “lecture” to others while you cruise. You can also listen to a recorded class while you soak in the sights.

    Wasatch Peaks

    Written by Wasatch Peaks