Summertime: Tools to Keep your Mind In Shape During Holidays (Guest Post)

When you have heard you have finally passed this semester’s exams, you will be more than ready for a vacation to rest your mind and take your thoughts away from the rigors of the last few months. It probably won’t be long before you find that your mind is looking for another challenge. Fortunately, there are many activities out on the web just suited to keeping your mind in shape. Here is a list of tools to keep your mind in shape.


1. Online courses at Coursera

Online courses are available, at little or no cost, that cater for the student like you who is on a long vacation. Coursera, for instance, is a website that acts as a face for many colleges and universities. It lists on its website 4-week long courses that take place at holiday time. The range of specializations is vast, from almost any language to business courses, all types of computer science specializations and courses from the sciences, mathematics, the humanities and practical arts disciplines.

A typical 4-week course offered in July by the University of Maryland at College Park is called “Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship”. This is a great introduction to the budding entrepreneur who wants to kick start a business after graduating. The University of California in San Diego puts on a     summer course that is suited to students who believe they haven’t fully mastered learning techniques. It is called “Learning How to Learn” and its aim is to provide the potential learner with powerful mental tools that will assist in the mastering of tough subjects.

2. Online Couses at UdaCity

If you have the time available a great way of keeping your mind in shape is to complete a mini online course. At UdaCity, you will find what the website calls “nanodegrees.” These are quite long and can take 6 months or more but are in an exciting range of subjects and may be complementary to what you are studying at college or university.

3. Writing skills with Penzu

Do you usually spend some of your leisure time writing a personal log or diary about events in your life and your current thoughts? Are you sometimes afraid that someone may get their hands on this very personal document? If you want to have a bit more fun and create an online personal log that is secret, you can sign up with Penzu for your free journal creator. It has some useful features such as the ability to search for past entries which is so much faster and neater than using the old fashioned paper journal.

If you are the sort of person that would love to remember to write entries regularly but you forget, Penzu sends you gentle reminders by email. You can compile a journal for different aspects of your life such as a food log or one describing the dreams you have as well as a study log. Penzu provides templates but you can customize the whole layout yourself.

4. Online plagiarism checker made easy with Unplag

Now, let’s move on to the subject of next semester’s essays. When you are collecting and compiling long essays for assessment, there is always a large amount of information accessible on the internet. It can be tempting just to copy and paste large chunks of information straight into your essay. Universities don’t allow this, for good reason, as it’s not your personal work. Most essays are checked carefully for plagiarism, and you will be penalized if your essay contains a significant amount of copied text.

Fortunately, there is an online plagiarism checker called Unplag you can use at a minimum of cost that can check your essay for plagiarism. You simply load your essay into the box and click. Within a few seconds a report is returned to you highlighting all the parts that have been plagiarized. Using the online plagiarism checker report you can make some quick adjustments so that the sentences are broken up or rewritten sufficiently that your next run through Unplag returns no plagiarism at all. You can send this report with your essay direct to your tutor.

5. Reading skills with Goodreads and LibraryThing

How about catching up on some reading? There are some great websites available such as goodreads and librarything that provide information on the latest books and can make recommendations if you input your preferences. They also provide forums for avid readers to share their views on books. It lets you know what people of your own age group like to read.

6. Online video tutorials

You can also spend some mind time watching and learning using online video tutorials and lectures such as, and

All in all, summertime is a time you can pick and choose what you do. It’s all up to you, but there are plenty of ways you can keep your mind in shape and give you a head start when you return to formal study after the holiday is over.

Author Bio: Lynn Usrey, a newbie essayist and freelance writer. After graduation from University of Florida at 2013 she has been working as a freelance editor and proofreader. Also she runs a writing course in Orlando, Florida. Visit her LinkedIn page.

In addition to this list, stay sharp over break with the help of a private San Diego summer tutor. Call us today for more information.

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