During the last few months of my first year of college, on top of all of our classes ramping up the work, all of my friends and I were struggling to figure out what to do this summer. The basic consensus was that it is really, really hard to find a summer job when you are our age. Once I found a job, it was only for 5 weeks, leaving me with a whole lot of free time. At first I was bummed, but before long I realized that this is a perfect opportunity to do things I don’t have time to do during the school year. Here are some examples of how to be productive during free time:
1. Get in Shape.
This is something that is really easy to let slip away when you are busy with the school year. I would recommend setting a goal, like going to the gym four times a week or training for a half marathon. You could also learn a new sport. Grab a friend and a couple of tennis racquets and hit some balls around at a public court!
2. Learn to Play a Musical Instrument.
It is never too late. One fun instrument to pick up is the ukulele. They are not too expensive and super easy to play. The chords can be learned with youtube videos and other online tutorials. Once you know these basic chords you can play tons of great, popular songs!
I did a ton of reading this year for school, but it is not quite the same as reading for fun. Grab a book off your parents bookshelf or make a visit to the library. Hours spent readings are hours well spent.
Even though you aren’t getting paid, volunteering can be good experience and fun. Food banks, libraries and urban farms are good places to try!
Like reading, writing is something I do a whole lot of during the school year. But I write so many academic essays that I forget how creative and fun writing can be. Whether it be a diary entry or a short story, you can never get too much practice! One of my main goals this summer is to learn to love creative story writing again.
No matter where you are spending your summer, I am sure that there are things nearby that you have not seen. Go for a bike ride or a hike in an area you are unfamiliar with and see what you can find. Walk down that alley you’ve always noticed or try to reach the top of a hill that you have only seen from below. If you want to go even further, take a road trip with some friends. Seeing new places and expanding your knowledge of the world around you is always a productive way to spend your time.
Planting seeds or improving your families garden can be surprisingly rewarding and fun. Buy a pot and fill it with colorful flowers or interesting succulents that you buy at a garden store or nursery. This summer I have started to realize what an art gardening is and how beautiful the finished product can be.
8. Take a Class.
I’m not thinking a class that would necessarily count for school credits, but something you have always wanted to do or learn about. Look online for art classes in your area. Take a yoga class at the local YMCA. I have always been fascinated by trapeze artists and I’m super excited to join in on a beginning trapeze class next week! Think of something you have always wanted to try. I bet someone will be willing to teach you.
Even if these examples aren’t up your alley, this article proves that a summer with no traditional job or internship does not have to be wasted! Free time is a perfect chance for you to have complete control over what you learn and how you grow. I hope you are inspired to make the best of it.