Professional athletes have an off-season. Their bodies and minds couldn’t sustain a year-round practice and game schedule without time to rest and recover. At season’s end, they embrace the downtime, the chance to be free of the competitive pressure that comes with constantly moving from one practice and game to the next. Yes, they may work on aspects of their game and get in shape for the coming season. But they also understand that if they don’t seize the opportunity for rest, they’ll never be game-ready for the on-season.
In the unnecessarily escalating arms race of college admissions, summer has taken on a new meaning for many kids. Instead of welcoming the no-more-pencils approach that once signaled an off-season, for many students summer is now like its own semester, with study and prep and activities that fill the hours and the days.
It’s healthy to stay productive during the summer. Spending three months doing nothing but sleeping in and watching YouTube videos isn’t a compelling experience for even the most enthusiastic of off-season embracers. But a student whose summer days are just a string of practices, tutors, rehearsals, etc. is like an athlete without an off-season. It’s unsustainable for even the most driven.
Students, make sure to balance summer productivity with healthy doses of rest, friends, and frivolity. There isn’t a single college that would want you to spend every waking summer second increasing your competitive advantage. In fact, you’ll be even more prepared at game time if you embrace the spirit of the off-season.