Many of you may spend hours playing ICQ or computer games. Others will sleep through the days. Indeed we deserve some rest and relaxation. But how about some other interesting and meaningful options? Summer vacation is the time to fill with activities, time to explore interests that don’t fit into the school day, and time to get bored—very, very bored.
However, there are plenty of productive ways through which you can spend your vacation that can be fun, relaxing and helpful for your education or career.
Join a park clean-up: Local parks, hiking trails, and beaches are places where people often litter. Students can come out and help clean trash and make simple repairs.
Volunteer at a retirement homes/orphanages: Make visits to these places just to chat, offer a presentation, do art, share some music, or bring your badminton rackets/football/cricket bat and ball and hold a tournament.
Read for the blind and dyslexic: Volunteer to read for the blind and dyslexic. For this you can get in touch with the blind schools in your area. There is a saying: “Helpfulness is the source of happiness.” You are a powerful and practical source of help to those in need. There are various organisations that recruit and offer training for voluntary workers. Voluntary work can be a challenging and rewarding experience.
Taking the summer to work on an internship offer many advantages to students: You can find internships for a productive summer no matter what field you are studying such as media internships, law internships, hotel internships etc. You can gain experience and also test the waters to ensure you enjoy the type of work as well as build contacts for your future. You can include this experience in your resume.
Read: Make a list of books you’ve always wanted to read or find a list of best-sellers and give yourself plenty of reading for the summer. You can even buy second hand books or take them on rent. Read motivational blogs. There are several popular and inspirational blogs that can help you find your motivation if it begins to flag.
Buy books early: Buy the books for your next session early and get started reading them before classes start. If your session has already begun then surely you would have got holiday homework and projects to complete. Do not leave them for the last week of your holiday. Complete them as per the schedule given by the school.
Take an education vacation: Instead of just taking a vacation with no purpose, take a vacation where you can learn something. The lure of travel is appealing to many, but the cost can sometimes make it prohibitive. Travel is a productive way to spend your vacation. You can plan short (day) trips to places which are closer to your homes. Carrying home cooked food can also make your trips affordable. Travel provides opportunities to learn about the region, people, culture, and history of wherever you go.
Take a non-academic class: Maybe you think that since classes are over for the summer you should stay away from school, but now is a great time to take informal classes to learn art, music, pottery, or any other subject that interests you.
Learn to play an instrument: If you’ve always wanted to learn the guitar or play the piano, summer vacation is a perfect time to learn how to play.
Learn a language: Go online, or buy some books or software to help learn a new language. Whether you go on vacation later or can use that skill for language requirements at school, you’ll be on your way to speaking the language.
Take up a new hobby: If you’ve always wanted to make a model airplane, learn to knit, collect coins, or any other hobby you can imagine, then this is the perfect time to learn new hobbies.
Learn to cook: You can find instructional videos online or just purchase some cookbooks and learn by experience. You can work under the guidance of your mother or aunt.
Visit museums: Check out the museums in your town, then venture out to nearby towns and see what they have to offer. Exploring museums is an easy and inexpensive way to expand your knowledge.
Build something: Whether a bookshelf or a birdhouse, build something. Not only will you learn a useful skill, but you can use this opportunity for a creative outlet, too.
Tutor students: Whatever subject or subjects are your strong ones, use that ability to tutor students who need extra help and earn some great money in the process.
Take a part time job: Finding a great part time job during the summer can build some cash reserves and still allow you some time to have fun only if you are above 18 years of age.
Study for admission tests: If you are heading off to college use the summer to get ready for admission tests you may be facing.
Take extra classes: If you need some extra classes or need help polishing up on a subject you didn’t quite grasp, take extra classes during the summer.
Create a resume or make your profile: It’s never too early to put together a great resume. Whether you will be in the job market soon or not, spend this time working on your resume so it is ready when you are.
Find your focus: If you have been struggling with a direction to take in life, use this time to research, talk to others, and possibly do some volunteer work in the field of your choice to help determine what direction you want your future to take.
Improve your writing skills: Writing is incredibly important during school and in your career. Establish excellent writing habits and learn to communicate effectively to see improvement in school and a great skill for your resume. Start a blog (there are plenty of free ones out there) and document your summer to stay in touch with friends and family or use it as a personal journal to capture your creativity.
Research your family history: Take advantage of your down time to research your family history. Make a family tree, or family calandars showing the birthdays and anniversaries of all the family members.
Reconnect with family members: Now that you aren’t so busy, take this time to reconnect with family members and relatives. Use your time off to make a visit to spend time together.
Clear the clutter: Clean up your living space, your work space, and your computer. Clear out old files, old clothes, paperwork you no longer need, and other clutter and you will not only have a cleaner, more organised place, but you can focus more easily on what you need to do than what is stacked all around you.
Destress: If the past semester (or past several semesters) has brought too much stress to your life, take this time to destress by pampering yourself, getting enough sleep, not overscheduling, taking time to focus on your breathing and meditate, getting exercise, eating right, and having fun. Praanayam and Surya Namaskar will help you destress.
Get fit: Take on an exercise programme, examine and change the way you are eating, and make positive changes that can help you become healthy and fit. Try Yoga and see the change. Become an early riser and give yourself a good night’s sleep by going to bed at a reasonable time.
Take a bicycle tour: Take a bicycle tour. Not only will you help the environment, but you will improve your fitness and can meet new people on your journey.
Learn to manage your money: This skill is not only an important one, but one that will help you make it through life with fewer stresses.
Learn to manage your time: Time management can help you complete assignments and projects more efficiently and is an important skill to carry over to your career.
Children, don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. Charles Buxton has very rightly said that “You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.”
— Aniket Raja