Zoe Hancox, MEng Biomedical Engineering
After completing exams, whether it be at A-level or university, the summer holidays can seem like a welcome relief where you can finally put up your feet and relax. It’s important to get some rest over the summer, studying can be hard on the body and mind and having a break is vital to keep yourself healthy.
After a few weeks, perhaps you find yourself bored of binging on tv or having extra-long lay in’s, maybe you have the drive to do something else with your summer holiday – which let’s face it, is a pretty long stretch of time. If you’re looking for things to do, this blog provides a list of things you can get up to and how to go about them:
Go on holiday
Students are unlikely to have heap loads of cash but perhaps you and your friends or family can rally up enough money for a short holiday to spend some time away together and explore somewhere new. A holiday doesn’t necessarily mean trekking to the other side of the world, instead, you could find a campsite somewhere and explore the area. There’s plenty of places in Yorkshire to explore, with the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District being close by – you could pitch up and have a hiking adventure.
During term time it might be difficult to schedule family visits, especially if they live far away from where you are studying. You could invite your family to come and stay with you, so they can learn and explore where you’ve been staying or go visit them to catch up and spend some time together.
Keeping (or getting) fit
After having your head in a book for the better part of a year, its likely you’ve put exercise to the side, prioritising studies and socialising over hitting the gym. You could try to get into a routine that you can carry on through your next stage of study, after all, a healthy body can keep a healthy mind.
I for one have never had a gym membership – but personally, I do yoga at home a couple of times a week watching free videos online and using my yoga matt. I’ll go out to the nearby free tennis courts and play tennis with my friends, and every day I go out for a walk and make sure to get some fresh air to clear my mind.
Get a part-time job
If you need some extra cash, working part-time over summer can be a great way to earn some money without affecting your studies. Also, having work experience on your CV of any sort can look great to future employers as it shows you are motivated and are willing to work hard. Update your CV, apply online, email local companies or print out your CV and personally take it to companies such as fast-food chains or retail stores – they’re usually happy to have the extra help even if it’s only for the summer.
Find a summer internship or a placement for an upcoming year
Taking part in an integrated course with a placement means that you’ll need to have a year out in industry after the second or third year of your course (depending on what you are studying).
Using your time off to find companies you want to apply to and sorting out your CV can be helpful. You might not be able to apply quite yet, but having everything ready for when you apply can lessen your workload when you’re back studying at university.
Alternatively, you might want to get some experience over the summer instead, either way, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself. A great place to get started is deciding where you want to do the placement, do you want to stay local or would you like to go abroad? This can really change your options.
After that you can start researching companies that would interest you, then you can make connections on LinkedIn to find out more about these companies. Once you’ve created your list, you can see if there are any job opportunities available and apply. If a job opening isn’t available you can email or telephone the careers team, tell them what you do, who you are and say you’re interested in finding out more. This worked for me last year. There weren’t many companies locally to apply for, but I found a company in Leeds, sent them an email with my CV and quickly received an interview and got a summer internship – it’s all a matter of perseverance.
Volunteer or raise money for a charity
If you want to really boost your CV and have some free time on your hands, you could lend a hand at a local fundraiser, volunteer at a library or help the elderly. If you want to raise money for a charity you could take part in a fundraising race, bake some goodies for a charity sale or perhaps go hiking.
Prepare for your next (or first) year of University
At some point over the holidays, you’ll need to get yourself ready for the next year of university, making sure you’ve got all of the supplies you need, and that you know how to register for university.
If you want to be ahead of the game you could find out what topics will be covered in your modules, and read some books from the library to get a good background knowledge to set you up. Academic books can be expensive, but you can borrow books from the library as long as you need to and if they don’t have the book you need you can request for it to be ordered in.
Moving to a new house
Maybe you want a fresh new space to live and study next year. Finding a new home can be tricky and exhausting but if you give yourself plenty of time, the process should be a lot less stressful.
If you’re moving away from home to go to university, this should definitely be on top of the summer to-do list as you’ll want plenty of time to check out the accommodation options that suit you. The University has a Unipol service on campus and online, to help students find safe accommodation both on or off-campus, to ensure landlords abide by the rules and that the state of living is up to standard.
Local summer events
West Yorkshire has a lot to offer in terms of summer events – why not use this as an opportunity to top up your tan (if the weather abides) and have some fun whilst exploring the local area. There are lots of events in and around Bradford, that are suited for us frugal students.
Alternatively, if you want to enhance your skills you could attend summer workshops or search for talks or conferences you could go to. If you want to do something career-related you could try searching on LinkedIn to see if local companies are going to any fairs or holding any talks.
Research what you want to do after completing your degree
Is this the summer before the last year of your degree? Perhaps you should start thinking ahead of what you would like to do after your degree has finished. Whether you want to get a graduate job, have some time off or continue with postgraduate education, things take time to find and organise so it’s always worth thinking ahead.
Hopefully, you’ve got something useful out of these ideas and feel more prepared for your next year. If you have any other ideas of what to get up to over the summer and would like to share them, feel free to comment on one of our social media pages.
Good luck to you all on your adventures!