Is there life after exams? Five things to look forward to this summer
You’ve been working so hard for the last few weeks and the end of your exams is nearly in sight. But what exactly is it that you’ve been waiting for? You’ve probably been dreaming of the moment you would wake up to no exams and no revision, but what will you do with yourself for the three months after that before uni starts?
If you’re suffering from an ‘I don’t know what to do with all this new found freedom’ block, here’s some ideas for how to fill your summer including some from students who have been in your shoes before…
After what may seem like a lifetime of intense study and revision you deserve to relax. However, if your head is still cooking after all your exams sometimes it’s difficult to switch off. So here’s some ideas to help you.
Remember all that procrastination when you were revising and some of those simple things you would have preferred to do that we usually take for granted? Taking a gentle stroll, reading a new book, watching rubbish TV? Enjoying time with friends and family, having a clear out, watching more rubbish TV? (Psychology student Rimah really went for it last summer and had a whole movie marathon!)
Now is the time you can let the Summer days coast by and feel smug and guilt free that you aren’t really doing anything in particular, in fact many of the students we asked enjoyed catching up on all that lost sleep. This approach may take care of you for a few weeks before it’s time for uni (time will go in a flash!) or, by day two of your Summer break you may be the type of person who will be getting itchy feet and looking for other ways to fill the time. So let’s look at some other ideas…
Extra cash always comes in handy. You could sign on with an agency to see what temporary work may be available, as summer internships can be hard to come by. Some work may not be as exciting as you would like, but it’s temporary and you are in control of doing as much, or as little as you want.
If you don’t want to feel that you are missing out on being outdoors, why not look at a farm job or look into farmers markets? If you have a good attitude and strike up a relationship with an employer, they may want you back when you are on holiday from uni and you need to boost the bank balance.
If gearing up for your course is more your thing, why not try a bit of online door knocking? You may find yourself getting involved in some really valuable work experience that will set you up for your studies and give you some insight towards your future goals. If you’ve got enthusiasm most employers will make good use of you but will also respect that you are there to learn and they will encourage you.
You don’t need to spend all your summer on this, unless you want to, but just a week or two of work experience could be a great taster. When you start uni, your work experience will give you something to talk about with other people on your course. Being pro-active and self-initiated is how you will be successful in your studies, and will give you the edge you need over others when you finish your course and go on a job hunt, but that’s the future, the Summer is now!
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3. We’re all going on a …
…Summer holiday! If you’ve got a stash of cash, then you probably will be planning your start to uni aboard a yacht somewhere off the coast in the south of France, or you may be just as happy floating around on an inflatable lilo in Bognor Regis. Whatever your budget, it’s definitely worth exploring the UK or further afield before you head off to Welcome Week.
Why not see if you can get any last minute package deals for a week or two away, fancy taking the train through Europe? It’s often cheaper than getting about in the UK! If you get a group of mates together you can get some bargain deals hiring cottages and caravans.
Heading to a festival and checking out a few bands is a holiday in itself, if you don’t want to buy a ticket then most events will allow you in for free, in return for a few hours labour, check the festival website. Many voluntary schemes operate both home and abroad, if you’re not the beach and trashy novel type then some of these could offer some really memorable experiences, and if you go it alone you’ll soon be getting along with like-minded types.
4. A new you!
Why not have a go at that hobby you’ve been meaning to try out? Three months is loads of time to learn how to knit or start those Spanish lessons. When you start at uni you will be met with a gazillion number of student societies that will all be vying for your attention. For instance, you could train yourself up as a magician, get involved in a bit of Bhangra, share your love of Dr Who or love of Rock music or join the most popular student society of last year, Burlesque! There are also plenty of sports and recreational societies for you to choose from, so you could always spend the Summer getting ahead of the pack! And if there’s not a society for your new hobby when you get here, you’ll just have to start your own student society.
5. Find your feet …
…you never know where they might take you! If your only experience of Birmingham is the Open Day you came to a while ago, then why not take the chance in the Summer to get yourself well orientated? A couple of day trips should do it, why not drag some friends or family along with you to have a proper day out? Even if you come on your own you’ll really start to get a feel for where you are going to be living.
If you are from the area you probably feel that you know the streets like the back of your hand, but, there’s plenty out there that’s undiscovered and areas of the city that you will have never ventured. Sociology student Soton recommends looking on YouTube before hopping on a bus to check out any videos that may be there to help you out. Why not take a ride on ‘The Big Brum Open Top Bus’? This is a great introduction to the city if you are not so familiar.
You could also take a waterway’s tour on a canal boat - did you know Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice? The Museum and Art Gallery houses an astonishing collection of art and exhibits and is well worth a visit. When you start uni you could well find yourself going back to visit again, and again. Heading out of the city centre, areas such as The Jewellery Quarter and Bournville (the big chocolate factory) are fascinating areas that are really worth checking out.
Take a bit of time to get your bearings around Birmingham and it will be one less thing to get nervous about before starting uni.
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