First of all, good luck you guys!
Here’s a little piece of advice that I wish someone had given me:
If at all possible, take a trip between Institute and the beginning of school. Whether it’s going home or just getting away for a few days, do something to get some perspective and feel like a human again, however briefly.
I didn’t do that last summer; after Institute, I went straight to my town and worked like a maniac for the 2 1/2 weeks I had before school started. Not the best choice. It did make me feel pretty well prepared for the school year, which was good, but I was EXHAUSTED still from Institute, and I didn’t really recover until Christmas. That’s a long time. Institute kind of blended into the first semester in a malaise of exhaustion and burnout because I didn’t do anything to break it up.
Institute really isn’t that bad. This was only my experience and I can’t speak for everyone else, but it truly wasn’t that bad. The days were long and getting up at 4 am was not fun, but everyone was really nice and genuinely wanted me to succeed, AND you had all weekend to recover. Plus, it was only 5 weeks.
But Institute did take weeks to recover from: the culture shock, the bug bites, the sleep deprivation — they all took their toll. So if you are making your summer plans, I would highly recommend scheduling some sort of break for yourself. Otherwise, you’ll never stop working.
Please email me if you have any questions! [email protected]