Staying busy during the summer is a challenge many people face. As schools and college end for the summer, finding something to fill up time and maintain a steady routine can be difficult. Given the current economy, getting a job isn't as easy as it used to be. Here I come up with several different ways you can stay busy this summer. Some are things I personally do to keep busy, but I have also included some other ideas (for the more adventurous).
Finding a job in the current economy can be tricky business and this has led people to turn more and more to volunteering or internships in order to keep busy, learn new skills and to bridge the gap between employment and redundancy. Apart from being an obvious time filler, volunteering in various activities gives us the chance to experience new things and meet new people. Many volunteering opportunities can be found through your local community centre, notice boards and also the well – known and popular website volunteer.ie. Opportunities vary widely including but not limited to – concerts, festivals, prisons, telephone help lines, cricket matches, and summer camps.
There are many summer classes/courses that are available to those eager to learn about new and interesting subjects. Courses in fashion, art, computer programming and drama to name but a few are available throughout the summer. While some of these courses can be a bit costly, doing a bit of research will go a long way to alleviating these costs. Your local community centre should also have more information on budget-friendly classes.
Depending on your age group, summer camps may be a viable option. Various summer camps are available in Ireland and also abroad. Cultural exchange programs are also a good idea if you are interested in learning about different cultures and love travelling. Organisations like EIL Explore give people a good opportunity to travel and experience life abroad. This organization also gives people a chance to travel for free or under subsidised schemes.
Expanding your knowledge
There's always going to be room for learning. As long as the world keeps spinning, there will always be something new and intriguing to learn. I study languages in college and this is something that I expand on over the summer. I take up new languages, learn new phrases and join various language exchange programs. Websites such as duolingo are very useful in learning the basics of many languages. At the risk of sounding a bit nerdy, your local library might also have a selection of courses, DVDs, and even books that you can dip into and learn from.
For those who spend copious amounts of time on their laptops – why not learn something new while you're at it? Codecademy offers free courses for individuals to learn basic coding and website building techniques. Coding is actually similar to learning a new language, so if you're an eager polyglot or just want to try something new, have a gander and try out Codecademy.
Looking up new recipes for baking is also something I like to do. I am involved in a local baking club (yes I just said that) where I help bake cakes that are sold in a community based coffee shop. As well as this, learning to cook is something that would benefit many people. For those moving out for college in September, cooking properly and learning how to not get food poisoning will go a long ways to helping you survive and thrive at third level.
Indulging in my creative side is also something I do very often, whether as a way to relax and unwind, or just simply to pass time. Research shows that arts and crafts help focus the mind, improve memory and increase concentration. Learning how to focus properly is something that will stand by a lot of people, whether at work, college or school – many day to day activities demand a certain amount of concentration.
An old housemate of mine used to be obsessed with chess. Unfortunately, no one around him was "good enough" to keep up with him. So to solve that problem he decided to go online to challenge virtual chess players all over the world. Many games are now available to play online, and often for free. And while they're not the same as playing in real life, it is a good compromise for those who want to do something, but have no one to do them with.
These are just a few ideas to keep busy. Depending on your interests they may differ from the suggestions I've written here – but give it a try, see what you like, and if you find out that something doesn't take your fancy, then at least you've learned something new about yourself.