Education

Purpose-Driven Ideas for College Students Who Have No Clue How to Spend Their Summer

posted by Chris Valentine

If you are one of the thousands of college students forced to make the transition to distance learning this semester and still in the dark about your classes in the fall, these next few months of summer likely feel uncertain. The idea of spending one more day on the couch at home with a Netflix marathon is not what you had in mind for summer vacation, right? But with public activities cancelled, friends and family members quarantined, and travel plans or summer jobs disrupted, you might be at a loss for how to fill the time. 

Almost nothing in life is stable, normal or familiar right now, and that includes summer break—but with some creative and resourceful thinking, it doesn’t have to be a waste. Below are five purposeful ideas to maximize this time away from school, whether you explore new hobbies, pitch in with relief organizations, advance your education or look for chances to brighten someone’s day. Of course, summer will be different this year, but these meaningful activities can help you to still make it count.          

Mail out Handwritten Letters to People in Need

In this era of social media, texts and video chats, sending letters is not exactly the trendiest form of communication, but it’s one of the most appreciated. This is even more true now with so many people disconnected from their loved ones. As EPOCH Clemson Student Living near Clemson University recommends, “Use this time to spread joy to people who might be especially isolated. Consider writing notes to residents of local senior communities who are likely missing their regular visitors.” You can also check out the website More Love Letters for inspiration on who to write to across the globe.   

Take an Online Course and Develop a New Skill

If you have wanted to speak Mandarin Chinese, plant your own garden, code JavaScript or bake pastries from scratch, now is your chance to learn how. During the pandemic, many e-course platforms have made their classes free, so you can emerge from quarantine with a brand new skill in your repertoire. Take guitar lessons on Fender, learn restaurant chef secrets on Teachable, study the ancient Greeks on Coursera, practice language immersion on Rosetta Stone, and discover the zero waste lifestyle on SkillShare. No matter your area of interest, there is probably an online course on it.  

Find Causes to Assist with in Your Community

Social impact is crucial right now, as communities all over this nation reel from the health and economic strain of COVID-19, and you can help the relief efforts. Whether that means you deliver groceries to a homebound neighbor, donate non-perishables to a local food bank, volunteer for a crisis hotline, stitch CDC-approved face masks, or contribute financially to a cause. Some NGOs do not allow in-person assistance currently, but these are just a few frontline organizations you can donate to: Direct Relief, Save the Children, Feeding America or International Rescue Committee.

Apply for Remote Internships within Your Field

The summer of your second or third year of college is when—under normal circumstances, that is—you would start looking for an internship. The academic credit and hands-on job experience are valuable to students, but this year, most onsite internship programs will be deferred. Before you call off the search though, websites like Virtual Internships offer remote opportunities in a number of fields such as computer science, healthcare, media communications, real estate and marketing. In addition, any class of 2020 graduates will receive a $200 discount for access to this platform.       

Tour Global Museums or Art Galleries Virtually 

Were you planning a study abroad trip to Rome this summer that was cancelled? Had you and your friends discussed backpacking across Spain before the virus was on anyone’s radar? With international travel restricted in the months ahead, you won’t be walking around the Colosseum with some authentic gelato in hand, but you can still view the world’s most famous historical artifacts without leaving home. Museums across Europe have created online tours, so peruse London’s British Museum, Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, Paris’ Musée de’Orsay or Amsterdam‘s Rijksmuseum.    

How are you adapting and recalibrating your summer plans in the midst of COVID-19? Share your own unique, creative and purposeful ideas in the comment section!

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