The uni summer is a phenomenon like no other. After exam period, 3 to 4 months of unadulterated free time feels just like what the doctor ordered! However, the novelty of endless, commitment-free days does manage to wear off (believe it or not…).
If you’ve finished everything on Netflix, are short on cash and ideas, and are looking to get something more out of the summer… here are some ideas to get you started!
1. Volunteer for a local charity or organisation. If you’re not sure where to start, there are lots of resources online. I’d recommend do-it.org, a huge database of over a million volunteering opportunities. You can search by your postcode to find local charities and organisations who are in need of your help. Even if you can only spare a couple of hours, any time that you can give is invaluable.
2. Reflect on your year so far and make some goals for the next one. The summer break is a great opportunity to take a step out of your studies and think about your journey so far. What worked well this year? What challenges did you face, and what helped you to overcome them? Knowing what you know now, what things would you have done differently? Taking an active decision to check in with yourself and reflect on your past year will help you start off the new academic year one step ahead.
3. Wanting to build your professional presence? Make a LinkedIn profile. How’re you doing on those new year’s resolutions you set yourself? “But I don’t have anything to put on there!” “I don’t have a profile photo!” “I don’t get it!” I’ve heard those loads of times, but trust me, it’s so useful to have LinkedIn. If you’re unfamiliar with LinkedIn, think of it like a professional Facebook which lets you stay in contact with the people you’ve met. LinkedIn really has been one of my key tools in building my network and keeping in touch with people doing all sorts of awesome things! It’s much easier than constantly asking for email addresses and lets connections see what you’re up to. You can join here.
4. Start a personal project. Ironically, I started this blog and online platform in my first term of second year, when I had less free time than ever. During the academic year, most of us think of interesting ideas or avenues we’d like to pursue if we had the opportunity to. The uni break is that opportunity – make the most of the luxury of time that you have now to get things started!
5. Learn a new skill. With the wealth of resources online, learning a new skill or talent is more accessible than ever before. From YouTube to free MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) like FutureLearn, there are numerous resources available to suit your learning style. From coding and computer science to business and management, the opportunities are endless and often will only take a matter of hours to get involved with. For me, a personal goal of mine is to improve my mental maths, so I’ve started looking into free online courses that I can take to develop that!
Of course, these 5 tips are just some ideas of what possibilities lie ahead over the next few months; what you aim to do over the summer will depend entirely on your personal goals. After a stressful academic year, for some, taking a couple of months off to relax is perfect just as it is.
Wishing you all the best with enjoying summer 2018!