Making the Most of a ‘Socially Distanced’ Summer
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
The last 19 or so weeks have not quite been the academic experience any of us expected! The transition to online learning has introduced new challenges and stresses for students, parents and teachers alike - the summer break has never felt so good!
A sigh of relief resonated around the globe when the final day of the academic year rolled through, perhaps this year more so than ever. The bliss of the summer holidays and the beauty of having an abundance of time to relax and unwind is something all students have been craving!
What even are summer holidays without lay-ins and late nights? It is important to recharge your batteries, binge watch a new show or game and get outside – but do you really want this to be all you can reflect on come September 2020?
Along with the academic adjustments, our daily routines during the school closure period have also had to drastically change. As such we have found ourselves with more time than ever to dedicate to bettering ourselves, whether this is physically with some at home workouts, mentally with a new online course/hobby or academically with the addition of tuition. The summer holidays should not be a time where all of these elements come to a standstill, instead they should be a period of time where we enhance each of these skills and potentially push ourselves even further …
If you are not sure how to fill some of your spare hours this summer whilst staying at home here are a few of our suggestions:
1) READ – Personally I find that there is nothing more relaxing that a wonderful book and an even better coffee (or juice – whatever your preference!). This does not have to be a fiction book, but try to find a genre that really engages you; this could be a manual, recipe book, magazines or newspapers, non-fiction (‘Prisoners of geography’ and ‘How to teach quantum physics to your dog’ are two of my personal favourites in this category) or even textbooks. Reading not only enhances your phonemic awareness but it also helps to maintain fluency, comprehension, understanding, patience and concentration. Further to this, if you are looking at applying to university or college in the near future then try to read relevant literature for the course you are looking to specialise in, this is a fantastic way for you to develop your general understanding of a subject, so that you will know for sure you have chosen the correct course, and will significantly improve your personal statement quality and engagement during interviews. Bonus fact: Most self-made millionaires read at least 2 books per month – so what are you waiting for?!
2) KEEP LEARNING- bear with me with this one - if you find reading without a specific goal is not necessarily your ‘thing’ then why not try directing this time towards completing a short course (or even a few). There are hundreds of verified websites that offer online courses and qualifications and most of them are completely free. Start off with a course that only requires a minimal time commitment, maybe 2 hours per week across 3 weeks. If you find a niche you really enjoy then why not complete the modules a bit quicker than expected and you could be finished within half the time, or maybe even less? Many universities offer online introductory courses that are a fantastic way for you to experience a taste of university life.
3) HELP – This tip can be interpreted in a many different capacities but ultimately, you have spare time so why not offer this to help someone else – is there really anything better? It could be helping on a small scale such as helping to prepare dinner, helping to change the car battery, helping a sibling learn to tie their laces, help a neighbour carry in and unpack their groceries. If we are looking at a larger scale you could perhaps go through your closet and donate clothes that you no longer need, or have grown out of, to a local charity, perhaps you could bake a variety of treats and deliver them in little parcels to your neighbours and family members or even look at online volunteering sites? Time is your most valuable asset so if you have a little spare you can always offer it to help someone else.
4) GO OUTSIDE – If it is possible and safe for you to be outside then GO! Whether it’s your own garden, a park or just the local area, try to spend some time each day in the fresh air. Now I know this could be challenging and will be highly dependent on the variable government restrictions, but if you take a few minutes to look you might be surprised by how much local free, open space is available. You might even find a new place to film some tik-tok content!
If spending prolonged periods of time outside is not easy where you live, either due to safety or temperature, still try to get a little bit of fresh air and vitamin D whenever you can. You might be surprised by how different you feel after spending just a few minutes in the morning and evening on your patio or taking a stroll around your block.
Just don’t forget, when you are outside – keep hydrated, apply your sun cream, don a mask and enjoy the fresh air!
Ultimately, we know the summer holidays are designed for you to relax. This academic year has brought with it unexpected challenges for all students so it is vitally important you use the summers to recharge your batteries. Don’t feel guilty for spending 3 hours trying to nail that Pinterest worthy vision board or reach a particular level in your new game – this is what the holidays are designed for! Just be conscious that the summer holidays are also a brilliant opportunity for you to try something new and get ahead of the game!