Term ended a few weeks ago and already the bubble that is University is fading into blackness, as students up and down the country, far away from their Midland home of Nottingham, are beginning to wonder: what did I ever used to do with all this spare time? We look at how to make the most of your time at home.
Practice a Musical Instrument
You weren’t the guy who took his guitar and played Wonderwall at every pres throughout the whole of the first term, but you almost wanted to be that guy. You always knew how prestigious being able to play an instrument is, but until you came to University, you never realised just how much of a conversation starter it could be. Maybe it’s time to dust off that guitar that’s been sitting at the bottom of your bed since you discovered My Chemical Romance at the age of thirteen, and start to learn a few chords. Failing that, keyboard’s easy enough.
Learn a Language (and I’m not talking about Duolingo)
You want to ‘travel’ over summer, but you’re starting to feel bad about having your third boozy holiday in Ibiza without actually speaking a word of Spanish. While Duolingo is great for learning phrases and refreshing your knowledge of words, there are plenty of far superior ways to effectively actually learn a language, including hundreds of free lessons on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet. It’s best to learn a language with a friend to keep yourselves motivated, and have more fun doing so.
Catch Up With Old Friends
“We’ll always meet up, yeah?” But this didn’t mean meeting up once during the holidays, going home too full of nostalgia to bother going through it all again. Summer holidays are far longer than Christmas and Easter, and you know you love your mates, really. For everything that’s said about making the friends of your life at university, you just don’t have the same relationship with them as your mates from your halcyon teenage years. See what they’re up to, besides their busy working schedules and their blurry Snapchats taken in the back of anonymous clubs.
“A couple of months in, you’re downing jäger shots in Ocean looking for your next pull”
Rekindle an Old Flame (or Don’t)
The last night before the first of you went to university, you made a solemn promise to always be together. A couple of months in, you’re downing jäger shots in Ocean looking for your next pull. It might be awkward at first, but it’s best to remember you and your ex did actually like each other at some point, and though it is probably not a good idea to try long-distance second time around, you might find a friend in them. Which is a good thing, even if it’s just to get past awkward small talk or downright running away when you inevitably bump into them as they’re walking down the local highstreet with their new flame.
Watch Game of Thrones (if you haven’t already)
Everyone’s talking about it. You know it’s time to give up your pride, hipster attitude and “it will never beat Lord of the Rings” mindset and just watch it – if only so you don’t feel the need to find somebody else with whom you can exchange nonchalant grimaces with while the rest of your group of friends are engaged in fuelled, spoiler-filled discussion in the pub.
This is one for the science students, as English students might want to take these few months off. But with such long days turning into such long months, and so many amazing books out there, reading is an easy way to pass the day while feeling somewhat productive.
Get a Part Time Job
You’ll fight it at first, complain about how hard it is to get seasonal work in your local town, but eventually the boredom caused by everyone else working between one and five days a week will push you to swallow your pride and get that bar job at your local Wetherspoon’s. Besides, you know you can do with the extra cash.
Hit the Gym
Or, judging by your undeniable inability to justify that £120 gym membership you paid for at the start of first year, maybe just go for a run every other day to keep yourself in shape for the next time Baywatch plays in Ocean.
Go on a Cheap Holiday Abroad
eDreams, Kiwi, RyanAir – with so many companies offering cheap flights around Europe, and Brexit threatening the very existence of budget holidays, do it while you still can. Amsterdam, Dublin, Prague and many other top destinations can be reached with return flights from as low as £36. You’ve still got some student finance money left and we know you’re not going to get that part time job, so you’ve got to find some way to pass the time. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t. (For extra fun and adventure, go it alone and stay in hostels, so you can meet people, too!)
“Who needs Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty when we’ve got Stonehenge, Cheddar Gorge and the Angel of the North?”
Road Trip the UK
It’s not the USA, but who needs Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and the Statue of Liberty when we’ve got Stonehenge, Cheddar Gorge and the Angel of the North? And if you squint hard enough, Brighton can look a little bit like LA. But before you head off on this amazing adventure, you might want to pass that driving test you’ve put off for the last twelve months.
Start Preparing for Next Year’s Course
It’s the first week of September and over the last couple of months you’ve become a rock-star, visited Austria to show off your fluent German skills, hung out with your friends at the pub for a thousand times (and successfully engaged in Game of Thrones-based conversations), decided maybe it’s best if you don’t actually see your ex, given up on War and Peace after the first two pages, been fired from your part-time job for having too many ‘sick days’, worked out once or twice (£30 a month well spent) and driven no more than 40 miles away from your home town to see that one course mate you don’t really like (but he lives close enough, I suppose) – and after all this, you still find yourself with more time on your hands. You may as well get a head start on next year, then.
But for all of these possibilities, as realistic or as far-fetched as they seem, there is one thing that trumps them all, because after uni you’ll never be able to do it so well again:
Images by Matteo Everett
Featured Image “Chillin’ in Mono Lake” courtesy of Dawn Ellner on Flickr