Summer holidays are indeed a wonderful time for a student. With all the semester exams over and the wonderful sunny weather, you have four months ahead of you to do whatever you want. But do you really want to spend all your free time partying and lazing around? Are you really bored or, don’t have enough money to go for a long vacation? Time off from academics means that you can finally pursue all those other things essential for personality development and/or resume building. Here are 8 low budget things you can do to get the most out of the best time of the year:
1. Help Around The House
Let’s start off with the simplest and most obvious. Helping around the house with chores is the best way to make yourself useful during the Summer. If you still live at home, consider diving up house chores. Cook a few meals, do the laundry or clean the house. Trust me, your parents will really appreciate the help, and the skills you acquire along the way will come in handy when you finally move out and have to live alone. You can even strike a deal and earn pocket money in return for the chores you perform.
2. Work Out
Summer holidays are here, and you finally have the chance to get that perfect summer body! With school or university out of the way, you now have time to join that gym you always wanted to, or start that diet you’ve been meaning to for months. And if you need some motivation, just think of all the bathing suits and dresses you could rock if only you managed to get in shape! Or you can imagine yourself sunbathing in Malibu, looking up at the blue sky with the breeze blowing through your hair. Ah, bliss.
3. Learn a Sport
This one’s related to the previous point. Learning a new sport is also a great way to get exercise. It’s more entertaining than gym and also looks great on a resume. There are many awesome summer sports like swimming, basketball, volleyball, American football, soccer, lacrosse, etc. Find out what your local sports clubs offer, or plan training sessions with your athletic friends. If you keep at it regularly, maybe you can even become good enough to try out for the school teams next year. Now that would be real cool! (Psst. Here’s a cool idea. Are you a Potterhead? Try out Quidditch! It is an actual recognized sport in many countries, and the USA even has its own Quidditch Cup. Find out all about muggle Quidditch here.)
4. Learn a Foreign Language
If sports is not for you, don’t worry. You can still make your Summer useful by learning a foreign language. Knowing a foreign language really distinguishes you as a worthy individual, and you never know when your knowledge might come in use. Consider learning some widely popular languages like French, Spanish or German, or, for a greater challenge, go for the really tough ones like Arabic, Finnish or Hungarian. Learning languages is simply a hobby for some. But if that’s not you, and you’re looking for convincing enough reasons for putting in all that effort, here are 12 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language.
5. Take Summer Courses or a Semester Abroad
Summer classes are a really good way to get ahead in your studies, and a lot of people take them with an intention of graduating early. They are also useful in brushing up your grades if you are lagging behind, or in earning extra credits. You can also take online courses from different universities if that suits your situation. Some are free to enroll in, while you need to pay a certain amount to get a certificate in some. A good website is Coursera, where you can take courses from top universities like Stanford, Princeton, UPenn, John Hopkins, etc.
A semester abroad, if you can do it, is even better, because it is the experience of a lifetime. You get to meet new people, soak in a completely new culture and surrounding, and go on exciting adventures. You get global exposure and opportunities, and an international education that is of great value. Find out what options your university offers, and if it seems fit for you, I suggest you totally go for it.
6. Summer Jobs and Internships
This is the best way to spend the Summer as a student, in my opinion. Nothing is more beneficial than a job or internship. Unlike other times of the year when you are swamped with essays and assignments, the Summers allow you to work full-time. Most minimum wage jobs pay around $7-$12 an hour based on where you live. Multiply that by the number of hours you can put in and you’ll be surprised at how much money you can make. This extra cash can go towards other recreational summer activities, or even towards your educational fees. So head out that door right now, and find out if your local grocery store or ice cream parlour needs some extra help.
Internships are a great way to develop skills and gain experience in your direct field of study. Students prefer those that pay you a minimum stipend, but don’t worry. Even if you only manage to land an unpaid internship, it can still count towards valuable work experience and help you escape that “for a job you need experience but for experience you need a job” vicious cycle after graduation. World Internships is a good website to find international internships in major countries.
7. Cultivate A Hobby
Hobbies are necessary for our health and well-being. While they are always brushed aside during the busier months of the year, they’re vital for our holistic development and to keep us mentally balanced. Summer is the time to finally take up all those hobbies you always meant to but never got around to cultivating. Write a book, start a blog, go photo-walking around your city. You can also take up a variety of classes, like cooking, painting, learning an instrument, or attend local events and workshops. Want to get your driving license? Summer is the best time to go to driving school!
Volunteering is not only something that helps those around you, but it helps you too. Utilize your free time by contributing to your society. Do it not for the school credits, but the experience. Find a cause you are passionate about: the environment and cleanliness, underprivileged children, stray animals, old people, war survivors, the mentally ill or physically disabled, the homeless, etc. and look for charities, organisations or hospitals in your area. We spend all our early years in a fantasy bubble. But volunteering will break your Utopian ideals and give you a taste of the harsh realities of life. In the long run, it will ease your transition from the protected world yours parents have created for you into adulthood and independence. It will equip you with life skills by increasing maturity, self-awareness and developing adaptation skills.
What distinguishes a successful person from the rest of the lot is the way they spend their free time. We always have a choice in such situations – whether to take the easy and lazy way out, or think out of the box and come up with fun but constructive ways to while away the days. And it is these little choices that ultimately determine the person we become. So this Summer, do something worthwhile. Be productive, because you have the ability to be exactly what you aspire to be someday.
Image Sources: Wikipedia, Wikimedia, Tumblr, Flickr, Shehrazed, Schoolplaten.