Student Voices: Maintaining mental wellness during summer breaks

By Dale John Allen

Fellow students, fellow filmmakers, fellow ambassadors…Summer has arrived and it is glorious…in theory. In reality it can actually be quite overwhelming. So much time off and much less responsibility. It’s definitely a welcome break from all the hard graft of university but it can be quite scary knowing what to do with yourself – especially if you struggle with mental illness. Below are some tips for maximizing your summer before the next academic year creeps up!



For a lot of people routine is what keeps them going. It can cause havoc when your routine changes and you suddenly find yourself lost in a big sea of AHHHHH. For me, routine helps me maintain a balanced and stable lifestyle. It helps me plan my time and get things done efficiently. It keeps me active (even when at times I do not want to be active), keeps me motivated, and keeps me from bouncing around the walls getting antsy and hyperactive.

Set small goals

For me, the summer months are always a case of ‘The grass is always greener’. I long for them endlessly when they are not upon us but now we’re just about to end for the break I can fee

goal pic

l myself slightly anxious and wanting to hold it up a little while longer. The university campus slowly begins to shut down, the cafes are no longer buzzing, the library is no longer a 24/7 haven, and my emails are met with out of office responses. It kills your motivation a little bit and is super hard to get back in to once the new academic year begins. My advice, and something I’ve found really helpful myself, is to set yourself summer projects, or small goals. Nothing academic or as intense as your studies, but lightweight things that allow you to stay productive and utilize your skills. Maybe a summer internship or a few days volunteering for a company you are longing to work for…maybe taking time to focus on your band or the arts. Do projects that may require you to do a bit of work on yourself. Always wanted to do yoga but never found the time? Start now and it’ll be second nature by the new academic year.

Gain work or volunteer experience

Getting some work experience under your belt, or considering doing a few weeks interning is something I think all students should be at least considering. This is the absolute best time to start looking. It is nerve-wracking to email companies and beg them to take you on for a week or two, but it might just be the difference between getting that graduate 9-5 job and not. Summer is a long enough stretch of time so it is definitely worth at least having a browse around online at companies you may like to get some experience from. If you don’t want to work for free doing an unpaid internship definitely try and get a part-time job to try and escape that overdraft before the new term starts. You will thank yourself a million and one times over come September when your bank balance is finally out of the red.

Spend time with a core group of friends


It is also important to remember that you have a life back home too. Although meeting loads of new, amazing people at university is super fun, it is probable that your friends at home really miss you and want to spend some time with you before the summer ends. Do try to make every effort you can to see those close to you back home.

The most important advice I can offer is to take time out for yourself. Spend time doing the things you love the most and recharging ahead of the new academic year. Enjoy the summer and be kind to yourself. If things go wrong there is always next summer. <3

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