8 Unconventional Ways to Spend Your Summer Break

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Summer-Break-College-Unique-Fun

Our final papers are done, our exam notes are prepared, and we’re already busy packing up the dorm for the year. Summer break couldn’t come any sooner for us! But we don’t plan on spending it lounging around home. Instead, we’re putting our weeks off to good use by trying out these eight unconventional ways to spend your summer break.

 

  1. Going to School

Say what…? No, we’re serious. The summer is the BEST time to catch up on classes or get a headstart. Most universities allow you to take and transfer a certain amount of credits from other classes. With local community colleges open year round, you can save time and money by getting a basic biology gen ed out of the way or retaking a communications class.

 

  1. Volunteering Abroad

There are so many programs out there looking for college students to work and volunteer abroad. For example, you could work on a farm in exchange for room, board, and a small stipend. Or, you could spend your summer volunteering at summer camps in Europe or Asia.

 

  1. Couchsurfing

Now that our old friends are scattered throughout the US, it’s the perfect time to go on a road trip. Couchsurf from one friend’s place to another and see how far you can go before you need to reserve a hotel room. Recruit friends to meet new friends along the way. It’s affordable, challenging, and so much fun.

 

  1. Banking for the Next Year

College is expensive. We all know that. That’s why we have no shame in admitting that we will be side hustling our butts off this summer. From mowing lawns, babysitting neighbors, and making money freelancing, there are tons of opportunities for short-term, low-pressure jobs geared towards college students.

 

  1. Backpacking America

With your student discount, you can go or do anything for so much less. Amtrak trains offer student fairs, and many hostels require you to show student IDs to use them. In other words, with a small budget, you could see the country without breaking the bank.

 

  1. Making a Difference in the Community

Your time matters, especially when you put it to good use. This summer, give back and add some new skills to your resume. A few great ideas include working at a local animal shelter, tutor English language learners, or help out with charity races.

 

  1. Sticking Around Campus

Sure, it would be awesome to go home, but there are so many reasons why living on campus during summer break rocks. For one, you’ll be one of a few. Colleges empty out for breaks, so you’ll rule the roost. But there’s also opportunities to work in a professor’s lab, take on a campus job, or catch up on coursework.

 

  1. Interning for Future Career Points

Interning can seem intimidating, especially compared to relaxing on the beach, but it’s a huge deal for college students, and it could make or break your career path. Some popular college summer internship programs include working on a cruise ship, through the Disney program, or with nonprofits in your area. If you’re not yet up to interning, consider shadowing or requesting a mentor instead. It’s less pressure and more time to enjoy your break.

 

 

Easiest Musical Instruments to Learn (& Why You Should Learn to Play in College!)

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

easiest-instruments-learn-college

 

You don’t have to be a music major to start a band or join an orchestra. Being in college is the perfect time to sit down with an instrument and pick up a new skill. Whether you played a bit in high school or have never looked at sheet music before, these five musical instruments are the easiest to learn and have additional benefits that go beyond gaining a new skill.

 

Guitar

The guitar is the ultimate adult-learner instrument. Not only can many people learn to play just by watching a few Youtube videos, but it’s the easiest way to play the music that you already love and know by heart. If you can’t afford a second-hand guitar, try a ukulele! Smaller size, but the learning experience is just as easy!

Why learn guitar — Besides a ton of tutorials out there that are free, guitar is great for the extrovert wanting to show off at parties or in their dorm rooms. Plus, you don’t have to be an expert to impress. Just learn a few chords and start strumming!  

 

Keyboard

Mozart need not apply. Like guitar, you can pick up keyboards with a few lessons and a few hours practicing. Plus, there are tons of opportunities to take group beginner keyboard classes at most universities in case you want to really move up a level.

Why learn keyboard — It’s a gateway instrument. Learning about chords and basic music reading can help you understand music — and even compose your own!

 

DJ Equipment

It’s probably not what you think about when you think musical instruments, but if you’re into tech and can’t get enough of mash-ups, purchasing basic DJ equipment could be your in to musicianship.

Why learn to DJ — If you’re looking for a little extra cash on the side, DJing is a great gig. Colleges, frats/sororities, restaurants, clubs and even event planners are always looking for those with DJ skills to play for events. You could pay your tuition with your new music skill!

 

Violin

String instruments continue to be the top of must-learn college instruments simply because they are lower in cost (at least starter violins) and are softer in volume, making them ideal for students. Violin lessons are also easily found, and you can take a variety of styles from classical to jazz.

Why learn violin —  Violin isn’t the easiest on this list. Professional violinists practice for thousands of hours to get to the top, but in college, you’re probably not too concerned with that! Instead, learning violin can get you into bands (especially folk rock ala Mumford and Sons) or even school orchestras.
 

Saxophone

Out of all the wind instruments, saxophone is the quickest to pick up. Unlike the oboe or clarinet with loads of keys and finger combinations or the horns with specific breathing and lip techniques, the saxophone is relatively simple once you learn the basics. All you’ll need is the saxophone itself (buy used), a cleaning kit, and some starter reeds. From there, you can learn using elementary music books.

Why learn saxophone — If you’re looking for a more traditional band instrument, this one is it. You’ll be able to join in a community band in your free time or play in a jazz or swing group once you are comfortable reading sheet music. As an added bonus, learning to read sheet music as well as improvise jazz band has been shown to improve memory and up your creativity.

 

Hobbies to Try as an Undergraduate

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

hobbies at college

Believe it or not, you will have free time when you’re in college! It may be a few hours here and there or full days of nothing to do but hang around. Trying out new activities, especially ones that are already campus favorites, can keep you busy and may even teach you a totally new skill! These favorites are ones every college kid should give a try.

1.   Board Gaming

Board games are a great, social hobby to share with friends or even clubs. Whether you’re all about new favorites Settlers of Catan or classics like Dungeons and Dragons, board games are relatively inexpensive, and there is often already a community out there willing to show you how to play.

2.   Hiking/Running

If you’re all about the outdoors, don’t be afraid to grab a pair of good walking or running shoes and hit the trails. With larger college campuses, your track may be the sidewalks from building to building. For colleges located in rural areas, you can take your hikes into forests or near beaches. You’ll see more than before and feel great when you’re done.

3.   Intramural Sports

There’s a reason why being active is such an awesome hobby for college students — it keeps you fit and helps your brain stay alert and healthy. Intramural sports are for college students not part of the college athletic program. They may include sports like soccer, team frisbee, capture the flag, powderpuff football, and even Quidditch from Harry Potter! Don’t see a sport you like? Gather some friends and ask the athletic department to help out.

4.   DIY/Crafting

Knitting and looming scarves and hats, repurposing clothing, making your own posters, or crafting a cool hanging light are all awesome starting crafting hobbies! With just a few dollars and a big dose of creativity, you can spend your time working on DIY projects for your dorm.

5.   Music

You don’t have to be a music major to be a musician in training. Colleges offer beginning guitar, keyboard, songwriting, etc. classes that are perfect for those wanting to learn. You can even start a band or take your talents to performance nights at a local cafe.

6.   Programming/Hacking for Good

Have a laptop? Great! You’re on your way to learning how to program websites or even hacking for good. Colleges have built programs to teach hacking skills for nonprofits and programming games that can become more than just hobbies in the future if you practice enough!

7.   Volunteering

Put your time to good use by finding a cause you care about. Tutor grade school students, serve food at a soup kitchen, walk dogs at an animal shelter. Your hobby can mean so much more when you make it go towards bettering the community around you. Plus, this hobby looks awesome on a resume!

8.   Writing

You don’t want to write more than that required essay. We get it. But honestly, writing can be therapeutic, especially if you have a lot on your mind. It can be a way to release your emotions, tell a story, or just practice some creative exercises. Try going old school with a written journal or opening an anonymous blog where you can write without fear. This hobby may be your best way to relax from stressful college life.