40 Things To Do During Summer Vacation

40 Things To Do During Summer Vacation

Because we all know four months without college friends or classes is WAY too long.
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It's been less than a week since finals wrapped up at the University of Minnesota, and I, among many of my other friends, are already lost on things to do. Since January, our entire schedules have been filled with homework and studying. The new freedom summer brings provides endless time (in between our summer job shifts, of course) for new activities and things you wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do during the school year. Below is a list of 40 different activities to keep you entertained during your break and to ensure you make the most of your summer.


1. Learn a new language.

I highly recommend starting with Duolingo. It's an app that provides free language tutoring through a series of activities and exercises. It offers a wide variety of languages such as Spanish, German, Greek, Swahili, among many others.

2. Volunteer.

There's an endless amount of volunteering opportunities offered throughout every major city in the country. For example, many hospitals will accept volunteers, as well as organizations in Minnesota such as Feed, My Starving Children, or the Ronald McDonald House. Most positions only require an application but be sure to check for minimum requirements such as age or experience.

3. Read a book.

Go to a library and wander until you find a book you think you'll like. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

4. Watch a TED talk.

This is one of my favorite hobbies any time of the year. TED is a nonprofit organization that shares short, approximately 15-minute videos ranging from science to business to global issues. There's a topic out there for everyone.

5. Start a garden.

Even if you don't have any outdoor space, succulents and cacti are very low maintenance and still add a little "green" to your indoor space.

6. Go camping.

Whether it's at a campground or in your backyard, enjoy the technology-free time with your family or friends.

7. Paint.

If you're not an artistic person, go to the store, buy a set of Crayola watercolors, and just paint.

8. Take an online course.

Coursera and edX both supply free online courses from top universities such as Yale, MIT, and Harvard. If you're trying to further your understanding of a particular topic such as physics or biology, I suggest starting with these websites.

9. Bake brownies or cookies.

Most stores stock up on the prepared cookie or brownie mixes, but if you have the time and ingredients, try making them from scratch.

10. Fly a kite.

Kites are available on Amazon for $10-$15, and instruction videos are available on YouTube to help you get started.

11. Play board games.

Life and Scrabble are my go-to's.

12. Make a scrapbook of old memories.

If you have the time and a little extra money, I promise the end-product will be worthwhile.

13. Start a journal.

You don't have to go buy the fancy Moleskin journals or buy an expensive one from Barnes and Noble, a simple notebook will do the trick. Write down your thoughts and document your summer.

14. Go to the beach.

Enjoy the sunshine, but don't forget sunscreen!

15. Go fishing.

Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and one of them is most likely within driving distance. Take the time on a nice, calm morning, and go fishing.

16. Binge-watch a TV show on Netflix.

"The Office," "Friends," "New Girl," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Grey's Anatomy" are good places to start.

17. Start a bucket list and cross off one item every week.

The items added don't have to be spectacular and nearly unattainable, they can be little things, too. In other words, I'm not expecting you to go skydiving, swim with sharks, and go on a cruise all in one month.

18. Learn to rock climb.

Both indoor and outdoor rock climbing are available depending on your level of comfort and experience. Remember to take every safety precaution and have fun.

19. Catch up with an old friend over coffee.

Call the friend you haven't seen in three years and ask to catch up over coffee. You never know how much their life has changed since last speaking with you.

20. Have a picnic.

Pack a basket with sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, and juice, and find a nice spot with a view. Maybe bring a book for a post-picnic activity.

21. Meditate or do yoga.

If you're unexperienced in both of these activities, many YouTube channels provide instructional videos. I'll post a link to one of my favorite YouTube yoga instructors here.

22. Learn a new instrument.

Whether it's piano, guitar, or even this $7.49 recorder from Amazon, try something new.

23. Discover new music.

Spotify and Pandora are great music platforms to discover different songs and artists. Keep checking your local venues and maybe attend a concert if possible.

24. Complete a puzzle.

You can buy puzzles online for around $10-$15. However, thrift stores and stores like Goodwill often sell them for less than $5.

25. Visit a museum.

The Science Museum of Minnesota and Minneapolis Institute of Art are two of the post popular museums in Minnesota. If you check their websites and other internet sources such as Groupon, you might be able to find a discount for admission.

26. Go to a comedy show.

I'm unaware of good comedy events around the country, but if you ever find yourself in downtown Minneapolis, check out Brave New Workshop.

27. Build a card tower.

If you're unsure how to do so, here is a link to instructions.

28. Reorganize and redecorate your room.

If you'd like a change in your life, try redecorating or reorganizing your room. Donate old clothes, books, or furniture no longer in use.

29. Marathon the entire Harry Potter series.

I challenge you to do this back-to-back with each movie, but I also realize that is 19 hours and 39 minutes of watching movies, not including snack or bathroom breaks.

30. Play with a pet.

It doesn't have to be your own. For a real adventure, check out the nearest animal shelter.

31. Start a blog.

Wordpress and Weebly are two online blogging websites that I highly suggest. Although it takes awhile to become accustomed to the platform, these websites are great because they're entirely customizable to the type of blog you wish to create.

32. Go for a bike ride.

Whether it's along the river or out on back roads, go for a ride.

33. Teach yourself how to juggle.

This might be easier said than done, but some videos on YouTube might be useful.

34. Take a bubble bath.

Some bubble bath or a bath bomb, music, and a good book will have you relaxed almost instantly.

35. Go to a farmer's market.

Support the farmers in your community and try buying local. With a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and flowers, there's something for everyone. The farmer's market in downtown Minneapolis is open Thursday's from 6am-6pm, while the Lyndale Market is open daily from 6am-1pm.


36. Exercise.

Go for a walk. Run. Bike. Do yoga. Play soccer. Just get up, and get moving.

37. Become a tourist in your own city.

Pretend you're from out of state and only have a limited amount of time to explore your city. Take yourself and your friends or family to the must-see places around town.

38. Color.

Adult coloring books have become an increasingly popular trend. Available online, Barnes and Noble, and Target, they're easily accessible. You can buy a book, some colored pencils or pens, and enjoy the relaxing day.

39. Spend time with your family and friends.

Whether it's a movie day or going out on a walk, put away your phone or laptop for a day and appreciate the people standing around you.

40. Enjoy all the time you have not worrying about studying or homework.

Cover Image Credit: Joe Pizzio // Unsplash

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An Open Letter To Every Athlete On Their Senior Night

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"
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Dear Seniors,

For many of you, today was a day that you had always wished would come sooner, only to find that when the day arrived wishing for it to come was the last thing you truly ever wanted.

When stepping out onto the court or field or rink for the very last time today, take a moment to stand quietly and look out into the crowd, look to your teammates, to your coaches, and to your fellow seniors, and remember the way this made you feel, as this is a feeling you will remember for the rest of your life.

Today and every day moving forward will be filled with memories that will last you a lifetime.

Today is a day bound to be filled with endless amounts of tears, both happy and sad, so let it be. Let these feelings consume you, and serve as a reminder that no matter where you may go in life from this very moment, that you have made a family of your own. That you have changed the lives of others by just simply being in theirs.

That all the little things were really the big things, like the nicknames you had for your teammates, or your favorite song to sing in the locker room before a game. These things that never seemed to mean anything at the time are all the things that you will carry with you when you leave this place you call your home away from home.

On this day, years from now you will not remember the wins and losses of each season, but the people that took this journey with you and never let you look back.

The teammates that picked you up and carried you through the good and the bad of each day. The ones that taught you to see the good in all things. The ones who never let you live down the stupid things you did, mainly because they did them with you. And even the ones that you couldn't stand 99.9% percent of the time.

You will remember the coaches that pushed you and never let you give up.

You will remember all the times they yelled and made you run until you couldn't walk. The times that they depended on you to be the leaders we all knew you could be. But more than any of that, you will remember the opportunity they gave you to play the game you learned to love, the game that changed your life, the game that taught you more lessons about life, love and dedication than anything ever could.

On this day I ask you to remember a few things. I ask that you remember that the impact you have had on your teammates' lives is unmeasurable, never doubt that. The time you have spent dedicated to this sport that you love was never, EVER a waste of your time, because you are a better person because of it.

I ask you to remember that although the sadness you may hold in your heart overwhelms you, that you have found a part of you along this journey that will help you follow your dreams, whatever they may be.

Play your heart out today, and leave knowing you've given it all you've got just one last time. Leave knowing that you are one of the lucky ones. Remember the love, remember the defeat, remember the laughs and the tears, remember the battle wounds. Remember this feeling, always and forever.

Best of Luck,

Your Biggest Fan

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You Should Challenge Yourself Every Single Day And Reflect On It

Never shy away from doing or conquering something bigger than your comfort zone.

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Yikes, senior year is killing me. Multiple assignments are due at the same time, and I have no idea how I'm going to get it all done. I also have a late-night job one to three nights a week, so some of my nights are occupied by having fun and making money to balance my bank account. To add to that, I have student teaching, PLUS volunteering on a weekly basis.

I do a lot and I don't know how I'm surviving.

To be honest, some of this doesn't happen by chance. Of course, I have to go to class and work, but I don't have to volunteer. I don't have to dedicate my time to all of these extracurriculars, but I do. I don't have to fill every day with something to do, but there is a reason for everything.

Amid all this mess, I am challenging myself, and you should, too.

At least I am not bored every day, sitting in my room, surrounding myself with just classwork. When I was a freshman, I legit *lived* in my room, only leaving for class and meals. That's it. I didn't want to volunteer or get my face known because I was too afraid of drowning.

I was terrified of losing myself. I was scared of not having enough time. I was horrified of meeting new people, honestly.

I give props to my boyfriend, for getting me out there and for the motivation for this article. I joined extracurriculars when I was a sophomore when my boyfriend brought me to a movie night event, and I haven't been the same since. Reclusing was dangerous and I challenged myself to get out there and make a new family within the Student Center.

I owe it all to my boyfriend, and he already knows this.

Yes, right now, I may be sinking and trying to organize my thoughts. I'm trying my best not to forget everything this week, but that is also a challenge in itself. I honestly want my time occupied.

This is why you should do this, too. Get into the habit of setting goals and challenging yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone, and never shy away from conquering something bigger.

Challenging yourself can increase your self-worth. It'll start a chain reaction. Once you start, you won't stop. It may seem scary at first, believe me, but it only betters you in the end.

After busting out of your comfort zone and showing people who you really are, reflect on it. My boyfriend got me into this habit of reflecting on my week every Sunday. Reflecting on your challenges and triumphs can make a better you, and it makes you want to do it all over again.

Tell it to yourself. Stand in the mirror and tell your reflection what you learned and how you challenged yourself for the week. Help yourself out; you'll do you a favor.

Reflection is a good technique because you can go over what went right and what went wrong. You can find out what you need to do better, how to manage your time better, how to make something better. If you're daring, go from reflecting every week to reflecting every day.

It feels good to feel better. Try it.

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