Your UC Summer Session Survival Guide

Women in front of laptop taking notes

Written by Susan Helmick, Graduate Assistant to the Graduate College

Summer has arrived, and with it, a familiar challenge for graduate students in session: balancing academic pursuits with the pull of warmer weather and recreational activities. Juggling coursework, job and family responsibilities, travel plans, and simply enjoying the sunshine can feel like walking a tightrope. Fear not—follow these tips and resources from the Graduate College to achieve success with your summer academic endeavors.

  • Plan Strategically: The key to a successful summer is organization. Take time to map out your academic commitments, including coursework, research projects, and deadlines. Once you have a clear understanding of your responsibilities, schedule your summer activities around them. Setting priorities and creating a structured schedule will help you stay on track while still allowing time for relaxation and enjoyment.
  • Embrace Flexibility: Summer can be the perfect opportunity for flexible learning. Consider online courses or remote research opportunities that allow you to work from anywhere. This flexibility allows you to pursue summer fun while still making progress towards your academic goals. Remember, flexibility requires discipline. Set realistic expectations and stay committed to your academic pursuits.
  • Stay Organized: With so much going on, staying organized is crucial. Whether you prefer a digital calendar or a trusty planner, find a system that works for you and stick to it. Track deadlines, appointments, and commitments to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Staying organized minimizes stress and maximizes productivity. 
  • Practice Self-Care: Amidst the hustle and bustle, prioritize self-care. Ensure you take breaks, get sufficient rest, and support your body with nutritious food and regular exercise whenever possible. Remember, your mental and physical well-being are equally important. Schedule time for relaxation and activities that bring you joy, whether it's a leisurely stroll in the park, a day at a local lake or river, or dinner with friends. Running low on time for excursions? All UC students are entitled to a free subscription to the Calm App, devoted to improving mental well-being through an array of mindfulness and meditation practices accessible from the comfort of your home or any other location.
  • Use Resources: The Graduate College is your partner in success during the sunny season. From planning your electronic thesis/dissertation to completing your graduation checklist, don't hesitate to leverage our staff’s expertise (Not sure which staff to reach out to? Email Additionally, be sure to make time to connect with professors and fellow students for guidance and support throughout your summer journey.

How The Graduate College Can Help:

The Graduate College is committed to your success throughout your academic journey, including the summer session. Here's how we, along with the wider university community, can support you:

Summer brings sunny days and opportunities for both relaxation and academic progress. While balancing coursework with summer fun can feel challenging, the summer session also offers the chance to accelerate your studies and delve deeper into your field.

The Graduate College is here to support you throughout this journey, providing guidance, resources, and the tools you need to thrive. So, plan, prioritize your goals, and don't forget to schedule time for self-care. Make this summer a season of both academic success and personal growth.