It’s the middle of winter, so now’s as good a time as any to give the summer some thought, isn’t it? Have you decided what you are going to do with it yet? Before we look at lots of ideas, it’s worth thinking through what you’d like to achieve with your summer. And yes, having some downtime with family and friends is going to be an important element here. But the summer holidays will last for a long time, which you could pack a lot into – especially if you finish your exams in mid June!
Here are some ideas, which ones grab your attention?
There are so many opportunities to do some volunteering. So, why should you volunteer? Firstly, there will be a ‘feel good’ factor involved here – helping others (whether humans or animals), helping the environment or engaging in some other meaningful activities. But it doesn’t just stop with getting a warm feeling! You will develop some skills and experience. This volunteering may well be something that sparks career ideas, or you may have a career in mind that the volunteering will help get you into. For instance, if you are applying for a more vocational course at university like teaching, veterinary medicine, nursing and social work you will need to have some volunteering or work experience for your UCAS application. https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/i-want-to-volunteer would be a good place to start to find out more about the opportunities.
This is an obvious option! Earning some money will be an immediate benefit here – especially if you’ve got nights out or a holiday with friends planned. There are several other benefits too. Quite often the first jobs students have will be customer facing, so working in retail or hospitality. Learning how to work with customers, as well as with other staff will really develop your skills and hopefully your confidence. Whilst the money will appeal more at the moment, the skills development and confidence boost will have longer term benefits for your career. So that part time job this summer could actually help with your yet unknown graduate applications!
Depending on the virus situation, would you like to do some travel? This could be around the UK or you could get a European rail pass and spend the summer exploring Europe! https://www.eurail.com/en/deals/eurail-pass-discounts/youth-discounts Doing something like this would give you a lifetime of memories!
Hobbies and sport
Have you developed a particular hobby or interest over the last few years? Or are you a talented sports player? Could you go on any summer camps or training camps to develop this further? You’d be surrounded by others with the same interests and ability, which could be a fabulous way to spend at least some of your holidays. An example could be this summer school for organists – https://musiceducation.global/event/oundle-for-organists-summer-school/.
Alternatively, a summer spent following the England Cricket Team around the various grounds could be time very well spent!
University summer schools are often organised for year 12 students, occasionally there are ones for year 11 too. They usually last for a week and will focus on one particular area, for instance languages or engineering. They can be a great way to find out more about a subject area and to see what a particular university is like. Worth finding out more? Simply google the subject and ‘summer school’ and the results could lead you anywhere.
A couple of last thoughts really. You could view this summer as a trial for a gap year, to see how you’d get on and whether a gap year could be well spent. How could you plan the summer to make the most of it? Could you learn any new skills (e.g. tractor driving, scuba diving, netball umpiring) that would help an action packed gap year in the future? By getting organised and planning early, you could really make the most of your summer! As you can probably tell from this blog, having read this far, planning is key. So why not sit down and think through what you’d like to achieve. What’s holding you back?
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