Usually around this time of the year, you’ll start to see the same old articles telling you how to spend your summer. They recommend working, internships, short courses, and many more productive and experience gaining activities. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with these articles (I have written quite a few myself). But, while it is an incredible idea to rack up some experience over summer, it is also really important that you take some time to actually enjoy it too.
Take me for example. During the summer break after my first year of university, I spent every day working at a theme park to save up money. My second year I had a life-changing experience completing an internship all summer. Neither of these experiences I regret for even a second. However, just last week when I was planning out my final summer I realised that I became so focused working and gaining experience that I forgot what the summer break is all about (keyword: ‘break’).
I was so focused on packing in everything I could find into my summer that I never gave myself time to regroup for the following year. Then when uni came back around I was still just as stressed as I had been at the end of the previous semester.
So how will this summer be different?
This summer will be the last of my undergraduate degree. Because of this, I have decided to do things a little differently. This summer will be almost the same as the previous two summers. I’ll be working and volunteering 30+ hours a week, but it is how I utilise my spare time that will make all the difference.
Re-evaluate your spare time
If you want something different out of your summer, then it is time to re-evaluate how you spend your spare hours. You know, those hours when you oversleep, or when you mindlessly scroll your feeds, watch YouTube videos, or waste time without even realising it.
Do the things you always say you want to do
It is time to spend your summer doing those things that you always say you wanted to do but don’t usually have the time to do. For the average student, we just gained an extra 40 hours back into our week. Some of us may pick up extra hours at work, but that still leaves plenty of time to get out there and make the most of your holidays. Maybe you have always wanted to start practising yoga, perhaps you want to learn how to cook, or you want to start hiking, maybe you even want to tick an item off your bucket list. Now is the perfect opportunity to do it.
Relax your brain
Most importantly, remember to give your body and mind a very well-deserved break. Your brain has just worked through an entire year of course work. Take a small amount of time each day to practice mindfulness and meditation. If this is something new to you check out the Student Services Counselling website for some tips and guided meditations. If you can, take an entire day or two off from technology – it may seem impossible now, but you will certainly feel the benefits of switching off.
University life is presenting us with three full months (or more) to do whatever we want to do and be whoever we want to be. Savour every second, enjoy every experience and do something new. Honestly, after university, when is the next time that you’ll have so much time off with minimal responsibilities? Probably not anytime in the foreseeable future.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and don’t waste your summer!
Until next time – Hayley