From volunteering to learning how to cook, Rebecca Treacy gives us her top tricks and tips in how to keep busy this summer.
The summer months can be a dull time, especially if most of your friends are off doing the J1 or travelling and you’re spending all of that time off at home without the usual college work to keep you busy.
 
It doesn’t have to be completely boring though. That time off can be ideal to do all sorts of things that you never seem to get around to during the college year. Here are a few ideas to help you fill up those summers days.
 
Make a to watch/to read list
Make a list of books or films that you planned to read or watch, but haven’t had the chance to yet. Many students spend so much time reading for classes that they don’t get a chance to read for pleasure. Pick up that book or curl up with that film everyone’s been talking about.
 
If you don’t have something in mind, have a look at websites like Letterboxd or Goodreads for ideas. Better yet, put aside an afternoon to go to your local bookshop. For Dublin based people, most of you probably know that Chapters is a gem for secondhand books.
 
Learn to cook
Learn to cook if you can’t or try out new foods and recipes if you can. A lot of us live on the same few staple meals, so while you have some time, change it up a bit. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try being a veggie and you could use the summer as a chance to start making some meat free meals.
 
Maybe you’ve always wanted to bake your own breads or try being super healthy after weeks of exam stress leading to eating junk all the time. Regardless, cooking or baking can be relaxing, exciting or time consuming depending on what you try. Perfect for filling an afternoon with no plans. 
 
Discover your city
Do the tourist thing wherever you’re from. If there’s some local landmarks that you know nothing about or have never been to, now is your chance. This is all the better if you can go on walks or hikes when the weather decides to get better.
 
Explore places around you that you’ve never been to, go to your local markets and finally take that walk up the mountains or jog around the park you’ve been thinking about. 
 
Often we forget what’s undiscovered on our doorstep, especially for those who live near a large town or city. 
 
Start a journal or a blog
Bullet journals have become popular lately, with the initial tutorial going up here by Ryder Carroll and many resources for different journal ideas can be found online. 
 
If that doesn’t interest you, but you have something that you love, whether it be music, cooking, books or a certain TV show, a blog can be a great way to channel your energy, interact with other people who like the same things as you and the perfect way to keep those creative juices flowing. 
 
Volunteering
Finally, volunteering can be an excellent way of filling your time, putting something on your CV, and giving back to your local area. Volunteer.ie is a good resource for finding places with openings for volunteers near where you live, and it has the added bonus that you can choose what type of volunteering work that suits you.
 
With everything from helplines to fundraising collections to jobs for translators, photographers, administration and so many others, you are bound to find something that you could get some fulfillment out of. 
 
The summer doesn’t have to be an endless few months of unfilled days spent waiting for your friends to come home. 
 
It can be a great chance to do things you don’t have any time for during the college year, and most of all to enjoy some free time. 
 
Website www.studentvolunteer.ie has just launched and it’s a great place to find volunteering roles! 
 
Photo:Nicole Abalde/ Flickr