5 tips for making the most of your summer holiday

5 July 2021
Five Falmouth University students on a sandy beach with the sea in the background
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Student life

When summer finally comes around, it’s tempting to put your feet up and enjoy the sunshine. However, I believe that you should also use this time wisely.

You’re at University for a few years then you’re out into the world, so in my mind summer is the perfect time to improve your skills. 

You’re given so much free time when you aren't working on assignments – so why not try something new over the summer? Here are my six top tips for making the most of the holidays. 

Create a plan

It really helps me out to know that I can check my online timetable and pick and choose what projects I want to work on.

After spending a year or two working at university, you’re probably quite familiar with a timetable.

I know using a timetable isn’t for everyone, but setting yourself tasks throughout a week will help keep you motivated, as well as allowing you to stay on track of your achievements over the summer. 

One website I use a lot for planning my work is Milanote. Using Milanote has allowed me to create soft deadlines for pieces of work and helps me stay organised.

You can also use it collaboratively, so if you’re interested in trying out group projects as a change of pace it’s a good way to keep everyone up to date. These tasks don’t need to be massive or time consuming, but having time set aside each week to work on something productive will give you a great sense of achievement.

I know it really helps me out to know that I can check my online timetable and pick and choose what projects I want to work on. Having a personal timetable also gives you the creative freedom to work on any project you want – you’re in control.

It doesn’t have to be career-related; you might have wanted to try out a sport but never had the time during the term.  

Revisit old goals

Having time off gives you the opportunity to work on past projects. This may be uni-related or a personal goal that you want to achieve but you never had the time to do it. For me, I used the latest lockdown to start a side project and, now that it’s summer, I can return to it with full force.

It doesn’t have to be career-related; you might have wanted to try out a sport but never had the time during the term. Maybe you started a book but didn’t get around to finishing it. Whatever it might be, set yourself the challenge to try and complete or revisit it.

Past ideas and concepts will add to your portfolio in the long run, and it could be a really fun project to rework on over the summer.

Last year I made myself a goal of creating an Instagram to showcase my growth as an Indie Game Developer and I’ve found that it has really helped me to see how far I’ve come as an artist.

Get your work out there

Getting out into the world and showing your talents is a great way to spend your summer. There are online competitions for so many fields of work that you could try out. 

Portfolio work might be the only thing you’ve heard about over the past year, but this is the time to get it online. It could be on platforms like Artstation, Behance or even creating your own website.

Wherever you choose to showcase your work, the big step is to get it out there.

Last year I made myself a goal of creating an Instagram to showcase my growth as an Indie Game Developer and I’ve found that it has really helped me to see how far I’ve come as an artist. This might be the path you want to go down, to create a virtual tracker throughout summer to gauge how you’ve progressed. Instagram isn’t for everyone, but I do believe that it’s such a fun way to showcase what you have to the online world. 

Showcasing your work online will also give you the opportunity to receive feedback from people around the world; not everyone online will give constructive criticism, but feedback is crucial to your development.

There are also many competitions you could enter or create work for throughout the summer to challenge yourself. I’m certain that most professions would have a following online and mini competitions open to join. But if you don’t want to work on anything new, using your previous pieces to create a strong portfolio will get you prepared to look for jobs in the future.

 

Look for jobs 

No matter what year you’re in or going into, you should always be conscious of the jobs you will be applying for. Having a head start by looking at the job that you aspire to get and what you need to achieve to get there, will help shape your work to cater towards it.

Just because you’re midway through your time at university, doesn’t mean you can’t take on a part-time internships. You could gain some extra skills along the way.

For example, I took part in an internship last year that wasn’t in my dedicated field and now I have more of an understanding about the creative industry.

Not only that, but you’ll also be able to add any experience you’ve had onto your portfolio.

 

Get outside to mentally refresh

Having time to get away from projects by going outside and enjoying the sunshine will help you get on top of those summer goals. Projects can get overwhelming at times, and everybody needs an internal reset before the next year.

Last year I was tackling an internship at the same time as my university work and it got very busy. When I had time during the summer to get away from those tasks, I had a week away from all creative work. I felt refreshed coming back to it after that week, so make sure that you take time to enjoy the English sun, as we don’t get it often. 

Work can also be stressful and having a summer to not worry about deadlines will give you time to get back and ready for the next year.

If you’re living in Falmouth, you could try out surfing or swimming. The way I like to reset my clocks in the summer is exploring Cornwall through costal walks and finding hidden beaches. Maybe you aren't living in Falmouth for the summer and you’re back home, so maybe you could find a new hobby to take your mind off uni work.

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