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.

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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5 Reasons Why Spring Is A Lie

Spring is a conspiracy theory this year.

Just like every other snotty little first grader, I was taught that there are four seasons: summer, fall, winter, and spring. For years this rang true to me, but this year I'm calling bullshit on whatever kind of lies my first grade teacher fed me. Spring does not exist and here's the proof.

1. It's cold outside.

I know that spring no longer exists because it's been winter for years. First-grade me was promised that once it hit March, the world would thaw and flowers would start popping out of the ground. And yet, it is April and I cannot remember what it feels like to take off this puffy coat and not be immediately struck with hypothermia. And yes, April has brought showers, but I am skeptical about May's flowers because as you see, I've been lied to before.

2. It doesn't smell right.

Spring has that smell, you know? It's clear and cool and a little bit chilly but you don't mind because it promises summer. You don't notice it creep in but then one day you're driving with the windows down and you catch a whiff of it and then just can't stop breathing it in.

3. Your car windows are shut.

Maybe you don't notice the smell because all of your car windows are sealed shut! You can try opening them, sure, but driving with your windows down makes the 50-degree weather we've been blessed with for two straight days now feel like the 30-degree weather that's about to come around. Again.

Maybe if one of your favorite artists would drop a gorgeous spring album that's just made to be played with the windows down, the weather gods would finally take the hint.

4. It's snowing.

We didn't even get this much snow when it was LEGALLY winter. All these snowstorms are turning their assignments in late and sorry, but I don't accept late work. I have a life too, you know.

5. No allergies.

How am I supposed to make fun of all my friends for their excessive sneezing and tissue use now? Spring is the one season out of the year that I have the upper hand on my friends because their eyes are blurry and itchy and they won't come outside because of the pollen, so all that's left is to watch Netflix and take a nap once their Benadryl kicks in. What am I supposed to do now- go outside?

Cover Image Credit: Allef Vinicius / Unsplash

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It's National Volunteer Month So Go Out And Volunteer

April is National Volunteer Month

April is a month full of different opportunities. Spring is attempting to finally show up, changes are being made, and different spring activities are starting to pop up. With all of the fun activities going on, it's easy to find something to do and you might even end up finding an activity you never thought you could enjoy.

One of the best opportunities out there is the ability to volunteer. While volunteer activities go on year round, some activities open up only during warmer months. Being that April is National Volunteer Month, it seems fitting to name a few volunteer activities to get involved in this spring.

1. Animal Shelters

Animal shelters tend to be in need of volunteers to help with caring for the animals that they take in. While the veterinarians and vet techs take care of things along the line of medications, they can always use volunteers to help with other portions of the shelter.

Cleaning up after the animals, providing play times, going through donations and helping bathe/groom the animals are all parts of volunteering. You'll help make the animals feel safe and loved, even if it's only for a short time. Being a volunteer, you may also get to help with the adoption events and fundraisers as well. Check out your local ASPCA to see what opportunities they might have.

2. Children's Hospitals

One of the more innovative ways of volunteering that I've seen regarding children's hospitals. Some people, like those volunteering with the Golisano Children's Hospital, have a whole network of people to help create comfort teddy bears for children staying in the hospital. The network has a series of people who cut out outfits for the bears, sew the outfits together and then dress the bears before being sent off to the children.

Another option for the same hospital is sewing little scrub caps with cartoon characters on them for the children so they have something familiar when going into surgery. Others dress up and sing as favorite characters.

3. Libraries

Library systems often have a volunteer program for those who want to be active in their communities. Some positions offered in general are reading groups, toddler play times, and resume building workshops. These volunteer-run activities often provide an outlet for members of the community.

Fundraisers for the libraries are also generally run by the volunteers in conjunction with the actual librarians. In volunteering, you may help someone to get their dream job, help contribute to child literacy, and maybe even make a friend or two.

4. Soup Kitchens

Another way to volunteer in the community is through local soup kitchens. You can help to serve food and maybe make somebodies day. You can also donate to the local soup kitchens and provide non-perishable goods or hold a can drive in which you help to battle hunger in your community. In providing basic items, such as toiletries, food and water, you may make a struggling individuals life just a little bit easier for at least one day.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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