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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The Ultimate College Packing List: Closet

The transition from a walk-in closet to a non-existent dorm closet is a hard one ... My tips and tricks for making the transition smoother!
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Packing for college is a daunting task, and there's a lot of stuff you need to bring.

A fellow Odyssey writer, Taylor Paluczak, recently wrote an article talking about all the things you need to bring for college. If you haven't read it yet and are an incoming freshman, check it out!

There is one huge area of importance that she left out, however: the closet.

Growing up, I was used to having a walk-in closet that was roomy enough to hang all of my clothes, plus an enormous dresser in my room for foldable items.

I knew my closet at college would be way smaller than what I was used to, but I didn't think it would be that bad. So, when packing for college, I packed with a no-piece-of-clothing-left-behind mindset.

Bad idea.

When I arrived at my dorm in the fall, fitting all of my clothing into my closet was a struggle, to say the least. After both my closet, dresser, and the nightstand were filled to the brim with clothing, I was still left with extra pieces that didn't have a home in my tiny shoebox of a room.

This year, I plan on bringing way less stuff. As an incoming freshman, excitement takes over and your head fills with possibilities. Suddenly, you are convinced that of course you have to bring every dress you own - you never know when you'll need it! And that sweater you haven't worn in 4 months? Maybe you'll want it! And, yes, you'll need every one of your old Halloween costumes, just in case.

Trust me - I learned the hard way. Don't bring everything you own with you to college. Here's my list of what I used and what I didn't. Hopefully this makes it easier for you when deciding what to bring with you and what to leave behind.

First things first: Get a double-hanging closet organizer. This baby instantly doubles your closet space, allowing for double the clothes! Because let's be honest -- no matter how hard you try, you're still going to overpack. Also, I would recommend getting thin, non-slip hangers. They take up less space than traditional hangers, and your clothes will never fall off.

Here's my list:

Clothes

  • Lots of underwear and socks
  • Clothes for sleeping/lounging
    • Pajamas
    • Leggings
    • Comfortable t-shirts/sweaters
    • Sweatshirt
  • Workout clothing
    • Running shorts
    • Tank tops
    • Cropped leggings
    • Sports bras
  • Going out clothes
    • Rompers
    • Dresses
    • Printed pants/shorts
    • Skirts
    • Crop tops
    • Tank tops
    • Fun blouses
  • Jeans (only a few pairs)
  • Shorts (only a few pairs)
  • T-shirts/tank tops
  • Casual tops/blouses for class
  • Sweaters
  • Casual dresses
  • Formal dress
  • Rain jacket
  • Vests
  • Coat/jacket for colder weather

Shoes

  • Running shoes
  • Shower shoes!
  • Wedges
  • Sandals
  • Flip flops
  • Converse
  • Riding boots
  • Booties
  • 1 Pair of Heels
    • With wedges as an option, you won't wear heels as much as you would think. Bring one versatile pair that can be used for formal occasions.
  • Rainboots
  • Winter boots
  • Slippers

Accessories

  • Statement necklaces
  • Pendant necklaces
  • Earrings
  • Bracelets and bangles
  • Watch
  • Wallet
  • Cross-body bag
  • Tote bag
  • Backpack
  • Makeup bag
  • Duffel bag for travel
  • Belts
  • Tights
  • Baseball cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats/gloves/scarves

You Won't Need: High School T-shirts

Leave behind the high school T-shirts. Honestly. If you plan on joining a sorority, you'll be given more T-shirts than you know what to do with, and the ones you brought from home will sit collecting dust. One or two for sleeping is fine, but any more than that is excessive.

You Will Need: Casual Clothes for Class

Stock up on Nike shorts, leggings, workout tops, and sports bras. Not only can you wear these things to class when you're feeling particularly lazy (hello 8:30 a.m. classes!), but they will come in handy when you go to the rec center to workout. If you're feeling a little more ambitious, jeans/leggings paired with a sweater/flannel or a casual sundress and sandals are perfect options for class.

You Won't Need: "In-Between" Clothes

You know the clothes I'm talking about: they aren't fancy, but they aren't super casual either. You would wear these out to a nice dinner with your family or to church on Sunday. Trust me, there are practically zero occasions that you would need these type of clothes in college. Perhaps it's a good idea to bring along an outfit or two that would be appropriate for an interview or presentation, but other than that, leave them at home!

You Will Need: Going Out Clothes

You'll be going to parties in college, so going out clothes are a must. Going out clothes are different than your nicest Lilly Pulitzer dresses. Think: fun rompers, printed shorts, and cool tank tops. I recommend checking out Forever 21 or Tobi for affordable but fun pieces, because it's likely that these pieces will get spilled on and borrowed by all of your friends. Don't stress if you don't have hundreds of different outfits, either; I guarantee that there will be girls on your hall or in your sorority with closets that you can raid.

You Won't Need: Off-Season Clothes

When you get to school in August, there is no reason you need your winter jacket or cute fall sweaters, no matter how excited you are about your Nordstrom sale purchases. Leave them in a box at home, and your parents can send them to you whenever necessary. Otherwise, you should be able to survive until fall/Thanksgiving break.

You Will Need: Accessories

Statement necklaces, bold earrings, long pendants, fun studs, chunky bangles and big watches - bring them all! Jewelry storage is easy, plus displaying your jewelry acts as a part of your dorm decor. Accessories are perfect for spicing up your outfits and transforming them into a completely different look. This way, instead of buying a new dress, just add a new necklace to your favorite old dress and voilà! A totally new outfit.

You Won't Need: Every Halloween Costume You Own

Halloween is one weekend in the year. Yes, you'll need 2-4 costumes for themed parties, but you will not need your entire costume collection from your childhood. Costumes tend to be bulky, so why have them take up valuable space in your teeny-tiny dorm room? This is a perfect example of something to have your parents ship to you. Before you head off to school in August, pack up some costumes in a box and have your parents mail you it mid-October. Once the holiday weekend is over, bring your costumes back home with you over Thanksgiving break!

You Will Need: Weather-Appropriate Clothing

Depending on your college's location, this could mean rainboots, a winter parka, or a bikini. Be smart. You have to walk to class no matter the weather, so if you're going to school in southern California, chances are you won't need every sweater you own and your heavy-duty winter boots.

Remember, if you don't wear it at home, you're not going to wear it at school. If you're debating whether or not to bring a piece and it's not something you absolutely love, leave it at home! You can always pack up a box of "maybes" and have your parents send it to you if you decide you need its contents.

Getting ready for college is hard enough without the added stress of figuring out what to pack. Hopefully this list makes it a little bit easier. Good luck and happy packing!

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7 Stressful Things About Summer Break

Even though I love summer, there are a few things about the sunny season that really bother me.

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For most people, summer is the best time of year, and I am definitely one of those people. However, even though I love summer, there are a few things about the sunny season that really bother me. Here are some of the reasons why summer is stressful.

1. Air Conditioning

When it's hot out, this may seem like a good thing, except for the fact that public places fail to realize that when they blast their air conditioners in the middle of July, it kind of feels like you're trapped in the frozen tundra.

2. Sunburns

Seemingly unavoidable, yet almost always happening, even with a cover-up and huge hat.

3. Bugs

Bugs are EVERYWHERE. Not only are they super annoying, but if you're one of those people who's terrified of all things bugs and anything that looks like a bug, this is a total nightmare.

4. The Heat

Going back to number one, a little bit of warm weather doesn't hurt anyone. However, when it's too hot, most of the time you just feel sluggish and miserable.

5. Gross Swimming Pools

The level of gross-ness is almost indescribable. Wet floors, hair everywhere... let's just say it is not pretty.

6. Allergies

More of a spring struggle, but since some summers start in May, I thought I'd shed some light on something many people absolutely HATE. Anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies knows what I'm talking about. That miserable time of year when you're constantly feeling sick is never fun.

7. Occasional Boredom

Hopefully, this doesn't happen too often, but everyone has that feeling of having nothing to do at some point.

Cover Image Credit: Natasha Trivedi

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