The academic year is over…what do I do now?

After a year of assignments, essays, coursework and exams, the concept of a summer holiday is both welcomed and feared. With all that free time, what on earth do you do? The answer…absolutely anything! I remember my first summer holiday after a year at university and whilst enjoying the lack of stress and need to study, I felt a little like I was floating through life with not a lot to do. During the year I would be adding things to a mental list of everything I would do when the summer holidays came around and yet when they did arrive, everything on the list just seemed to be forgotten. So lucky for you, and maybe also lucky for me, I have compiled a non-exhaustive collection of things to do to really make the most of this summer holiday!

1. Try Volunteering

This is one of the obvious options that everyone knows exists but isn’t always carried through. It is more than likely that there is a charity with an ethos that matches everyone. Whether your interest lies in healthcare, human rights, or climate change, there are a whole host of charities you can get involved with. Volunteers are an integral part to the success of charities so it’s important to remember that whilst you may feel as if you’re “only volunteering”, you are actually playing a small part in a large movement to make something possible. Volunteering with charities can take many forms and most commonly involves fundraising events, spreading awareness of the charity, planning activities for the public or even taking part in arts and crafts, to name a few. Volunteering also doesn’t need to be carried out with more “conventional” charities but can also be done in care homes, youth groups, homeless shelters etc. Not only are there a wide range of charities to choose from, there is also a whole planet of countries to choose from! If travelling is something you wanted to do this summer or something you’re interested in looking into for the future, travelling to volunteer with a charity is a great way to make a difference, gain an experience like no other and also enjoy yourself. A good way to begin researching into voluntary opportunities abroad is through the Sheffield Career Connect Website. And speaking of career connect…

2. Check out Career Connect

If you’re a Sheffield student and you’re interested in finding out about some options of things to do over the summer, Career Connect is a great way to start. With hundreds of vacancies for part time jobs, full time jobs, volunteering opportunities and placements, there’s a good chance you’ll find something to suit you. Vacancies can be filtered on location, sector and job type. If you’re a graduating student, Career Connect also advertises plenty of graduate jobs with everything you need for how to apply.

3. Make a LinkedIn

A great alternative to Career Connect is a website/app called LinkedIn. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in applying for a job, internship or placement. Setting up a LinkedIn account was a compulsory component of my coursework and I don’t think I have ever been more grateful for a piece of coursework before! LinkedIn allows you to create connections with other users, have a look at their educational and work experiences and also search for vacancies. Whilst browsing through profiles in this way may seem a little like stalking, it’s actually extremely useful to see what educational backgrounds and experiences helped people secure particular jobs. This is particularly useful for any students who may be interested in certain types of jobs but are unsure of how to get there or even anyone unsure of what they’re interested in at all. I was able to come across more vacancies for undergraduate internships through browsing on LinkedIn than I did through a standard Google search. So for anyone who is keen to do a little researching for their future, LinkedIn might be a good place to start. 

4. Enjoy your hobbies!

Hobbies. We all have them. Whether they’re as adventurous as mountain climbing or as simple as gaming, we all have things in life that we enjoy doing and now is your time to do all of those things without the guilt or pressure of a deadline hanging over your head. Hobbies and the things in life which make us happy are as vital for our mental health as oxygen is to our lungs. After most likely experiencing a significant level of stress throughout the academic year, it’s important to do the things that we find fun, relaxing and make us happy. Hobbies are not useless and they can become bigger parts of our lives than we realise. Do you enjoy photography? Start a blog. Do you enjoy baking? Create your own youtube channel to teach others. 

5. Learn or experience something new 

There’s a whole world of new and exciting things to experience. Whether it’s learning a new language, taking up a sport, learning how to cook, painting, dancing, playing an instrument, the options are endless! If you’re staying in Sheffield for a while maybe take the day to explore some of the places nearby. Chatsworth House is a beautiful stately home and lucky for The University of Sheffield Students, we are able to get 50% off house and garden tickets. If walking the halls of a stately home isn’t for you then maybe visit the picturesque village of Castleton instead and have the chance to explore its mountains, ruins and caverns, only a short 37 minute car journey from Sheffield.

6. Get revived, rejuvenated and relaxed!

The summer doesn’t last forever. Let’s make the most of it!

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