Ever since I started college, I’ve always felt a bit anxious as summertime comes around. While summer is typically filled with lots of fun experiences and time to hang out with friends, it also means that you’ll find yourself with a lot more free time than during the school year. While working a job and taking an online class could fill a good amount of time during your week, you won’t have things like sorority events, homework, club meetings, or other random school-related activities to take up the rest of your free time. All of this newfound free time can seem a bit daunting and lonely at first, especially since you may not be living with your friends like during the school year. But here are a few ways I’ve found that work tremendously in filling up my free time in ways that actually make me feel better about myself, and, therefore, make me happier in general.
1. Taking a walk or bike Ride
Summer means sunny days. Sunny days mean the perfect opportunity to go outside, and you might as well get some exercise while doing it! Go to a park, walk around your neighborhood, walk to a friend’s house, walk to a coffee shop, or walk to a friend’s house to go get coffee together. Grab a bike and do the same. The options are endless and can be a great way to sneak in some extra exercise, social time, alone time and sunshine.
2. Gardening or planting flowers
I absolutely love plants. It runs in my family. Every single person on my mom’s side of the family has taken a liking to gardening or farming of some sort, and I am so thankful the habit was passed on to me. Buy some seeds or some baby plants, a few pots, a bit of soil, and you’re good to go! It can be a great stress reliever to take a break outside and water your garden, and can you ever really feel sad looking at a bunch of beautiful flowers?
3. Reading and writing
I am addicted to reading and writing. Articles, newspapers, books, essays, blogs and letters take up a lot of my free time. Books contain so much knowledge and new perspectives and are a great escape from reality from time to time. Other works of literature contain insights and can inspire new ideas in you that you never would have thought about before. Read some new things this summer and maybe even write some things as well. Start writing for Odyssey! You’ll feel so peaceful and productive the more you get your thoughts out of your mind and onto a piece of paper. Bonus points for reading or writing outside in the sunshine!
4. Picking up a new language
Just because we’re not in school doesn’t mean we can’t challenge our minds. Have a dream of traveling the world? Want to be able to connect to more people? Or, do you simply want to just know a little bit more about another language that seems interesting? There’s no way that learning a new language won’t help you in some way. Download an app, like Duolingo, go online, or go to a library. Start with the easy words and concepts, practice every day and you’ll have a basic working knowledge by the end of the summer!
5. Cooking and baking
Summer is the perfect time to perfect your own chocolate chip cookie recipe or find a new skill in the art of cooking. Go on Pinterest, find a few recipes that look tasty and manageable, get the ingredients and cook! Invite a few friends over to have a fun, easy, homemade meal. Take advantage of the warm summer evenings and have a barbecue outside! Get some practice this summer and then you can impress your roommates with your new amazing cooking skills.