Sun shining on the sand. A sea breeze floating through the air. Seems like a dream, but we’ve made it… welcome to the summer of 2021. Although it probably doesn’t look like the idyllic holiday we pictured it to be (with Blackpool pleasure beach replacing Spain's beaches) there’s still plenty of stuff to be getting on with. All this sudden time and freedom might come as a slight shock to the system for some, but lucky for you, I’ve come prepared with some tips on how to keep boredom (and excessively binge- watching TV boxsets) at bay during these next few months.
I’m sure many of us had great ideas for the notoriously exciting post-exam summer before covid hit, but with restrictions easing and the vaccines rolling out, it’s time to replan! First things first, let it sink in that you’ve finished exams… you deserve to treat yourself! With the weather getting better there’s plenty of opportunity to go and enjoy what you’ve missed not only with these months of revision, but also due to the lockdown rules. Whether that be socialising with friends or going out for a bite to eat, it’s important to mark the end of your exams and acknowledge what you’ve done!
Compared to other holidays, these few months of freedom are quite long, which means there is plenty of time to start preparing for your next step ahead, whether you’re planning to go to college, university or start an apprenticeship. Ah don’t get scared because I mentioned ‘planning’ and ‘thinking ahead’ on your holidays; I don’t mean intensively cramming until you black out or buying textbooks that weigh as much as a DofE rucksack. With all this time, a little light preparation can go a long way, like digging into the details of your course, subject or apprenticeship. In most cases, if you dig deep enough and find out that you’d prefer and enjoy another course more (certainly for college or sixth form) you’ll be able to change when you start in September. Thank me later if I’ve just saved you two or more years sitting at the back of a class being taught about the ionisation of energy whilst having an existential crisis!
Of course, this summer is top-tier not just for its length, but also for the amount of liberties it gives you. Whether you completed GCSE assessments and are over 16, or finished A-Levels/ Btecs as an official adult, age unlocks many opportunities. Most paid and voluntary work is only available to those who are over the age of 16, which is when you get your national insurance number, or 18 … the world is your oyster! It’s all fun and games thinking about your fun summer dreams, but, of course, the real world has its practicalities. Finding a part-time job and volunteering opportunities are fantastic ways to use your time and wouldn’t exactly hurt your bank account. They’re a great way to boost your CV and job prospects (I know, sounds very adulty, but the real world is looming upon us) but the skills you learn from hands-on experience are golden. The key thing is to do what you love, volunteering, for example, doesn’t always mean standing at the till of a charity shop so be creative with your time. Utilise what we’ve learnt from the pandemic, scour the internet and social media for golden nuggets of companies, experiences and groups that take your interest.
As well as experiencing new things, you can work on developing what you love and the hobbies you have already. Lockdown may have sparked some inspiration for a new interest, like baking such an excessive amount of banana bread that even your neighbours two doors down are slightly fed up with receiving them. With so much time on your hands, there’s plenty of opportunity to rekindle that spark of creativity and even share it with those around you. Higher education or a job away from home means seeing less of family and close friends, so spend some time with them doing what you love. This sudden burst of socialising after being hunched over revision notes might throw you off guard, which is why having a few ideas and plans for summer sets you up in the right direction. Who and what you invest your time into is crucial to prevent the ‘oh god I’m leaving for university and haven’t done anything this summer’ syndrome.
ANISHA MINOCHA is a sixth form student from Manchester, hoping to study English Literature and Spanish at university. She is a passionate writer and poet whose work has been published in anthologies, magazines, blogs and won competitions. Contributing to Sink Magazine, she is keen to utilize the voice of young people and share work through her creative writing blog. As a climate activist, she has combined her love for words and the planet in a performance of spoken word at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 'Letters to the Earth'. She also co-runs Young Friends of the Earth: Manchester and has organised workshops, participated in panels and spoken at Manchester Cathedral.
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