Winter break for college students can be a time of many emotions. We’re relieved that finals are over, but already stressing about next semester’s classes beginning in a month. We’re psyched to cuddle with our animals and eat our mom’s home-cooked meals, but then become annoyed once we realize we actually have to socialize with our racist, old family members. The extremely funny, ultra relatable tweets of Chrissy Teigen are my only hope for expressing how winter vacation is normally spent.
When you’re anxious about whether or not your pets are even going to recognize you…
When you go to all of the holiday parties around town and realize you’re a lightweight because your friend goes to a state college and you don’t…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think that my tree would not be considered Christmas-y if the ornaments are taken off and the lights are kept on. I think to just looks wintry. I am also keeping up decorations that say "let it snow", and I am keeping up any snowman without holly berries or presents in their hands.
The tree looks wintry in my opinion. It looks pretty with the lights and brings the room together. It gives off a warm ambiance, unlike that of fluorescent lighting.
I've taken all ornaments off except for gold snowflakes and I've left the silver tinsel garland on as well as the lights. It looks wintry to me still. I will probably be taking the whole tree down by the end of this month to prepare for Valentine's Day decorating. (Yes, I pretty much decorate my apartment for every holiday—sue me).
There's nothing like coming downstairs and seeing those lights sparkling.
Or coming inside from a dreary, rainy day outside and seeing them light up the room in a calm, warm, and comforting glow.
Or having a bad day, looking up, and seeing them shine.
It sort of makes me upset when I come downstairs and see that someone has unplugged them, to be honest.
I guess they don't see it as I do.
Pretty, twinkling lights forever!