“We wish we had three months off – make the most of it!” We’re sure you’ve heard your parents or graduate friends say this, but sorry, we’re going to say it again! After all, three months – commitment-free – isn’t an opportunity that comes with most jobs. Many of us grads wistfully look back on those long uni summers, wishing we’d made more of them – whether that meant getting some work experience under our belts or travelling the world.
And, while summer breaks look a little different this year (with lockdown not ending until 19th July and ever-changing travel restrictions), there are still plenty of things you can do to make summer 2021 a memorable one!
Why not use your summer break to help others? It’s been a tough 15 months for charities, who haven’t been able to fundraise in the usual ways. Dedicating a few hours to voluntary work is therefore a great way of lending them a helping hand and giving back to the local community. And you’ll be in good company – according to new research, 70% of students plan to volunteer this summer!
2. Apply for an internship
Some degrees have defined paths with mandatory work experience, but even if this isn’t the case for your course, it’s still a good idea to keep one eye on the future. Using your time off to get some work experience can be valuable in the long run – an internship will improve your CV, put you ahead of the competition, and might even get your foot in the door at your dream company. It’s worth noting, though, that most internships are unpaid (or only pay expenses).
3. Explore the UK
While international travel is less of a certainty as it stands (although, word has it that Ibiza is now on the green list!), there are plenty of places to explore on home soil. Why not take in the atmosphere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, go hiking in Snowdonia, explore the Cotswolds or even hit the beach in Bournemouth? Many UK festivals have been rearranged for later in the summer too – such as Boardmasters in Cornwall, Creamfields in Cheshire, and the Isle of Wight Festival.
And, if you and your uni friends are spread out over the country, it’s the perfect excuse to go on a road trip! Staycations may be more expensive this year, but you can still travel on a budget – book a hostel or dust off your tent!
4. Earn some money
…But those festivals won’t fund themselves! Getting a part-time job during the summer is a great way of earning some coin, and can also increase your confidence and widen your network.
This is an important one – even though internships and work experience are undoubtedly a valuable way to spend some of your summer, make sure you allot some time for kicking back and relaxing. It’s been a tough year for students and with the added recent summer exam stress, you deserve a break! Spend time with your loved ones, sit in the garden and read a book, and go on that family holiday (dad’s road-trip music isn’t that bad!).
6. Discover a new hobby
Have you noticed that lots of adults have been picking up new hobbies during lockdown (ahem, banana bread)? Similarly, a long summer break is the perfect time to pick up a new skill or hobby. What’s more, broadening your skill set looks good on your CV, regardless of whether it’s related to your career. So get pursuing those hobbies – learn a new language, get crafty or pick up a musical instrument!
7. Take on a challenge for charity
Another way of supporting charities or local causes while expanding your horizons is taking on a fundraising challenge. Grab your bike, trainers or wet suit and set up a fundraising page for your chosen charity – and see if your friends want to join in the fun.
8. Think about your future goals
The summer break is a great opportunity to take stock and think about what you want to do after uni – do you want to jump straight into a career, or are you thinking of taking a gap year? Will you move back home, or stay in your uni city? The possibilities are endless!
9. Stay in your uni digs
With various lockdowns and restrictions since the start of the academic year, you may have only just been able to get out and properly explore your uni city. Some of our students have decided to extend their stays to make the most of the summer with their flatmates. If you’ve decided to do so, our teams will be on hand to give you any advice on any ‘must-sees’ in the city. Your university might even do summer courses or, if you’re feeling particularly keen, you could get on top of that reading list!
And most of all…have fun!
Three months of freedom may sound too good to be true, but the one downside is that they will fly by (trust us!). The long stretch of free time is the perfect opportunity to do something meaningful, whether it’s volunteering, getting some work experience, exploring somewhere new, or simply getting some headspace in preparation for the academic year ahead.
Enjoy the break – and have fun!