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6 New Hobbies to Pick Up This Summer

It’s finally summer: time to work on your tan, lay by the pool, and hang out with friends… but what else are you going to do now that you don’t have extracurriculars and classes eating up all of your time? The shock of having less than 200 things to do a day during the summer can take you by surprise. Without meetings, classes, and practices, some collegiettes need a hobby to fill their time, regardless of their fabulous internships and summer jobs. But have no fear! There are plenty of activities you can do this summer to keep you occupied.

1. Read a book (that’s not a textbook!)

Make a list of books you’ve been dying to read and actually read them! As a college student, it may be hard to imagine that there is such a thing as reading for leisure. Textbooks, court cases, and case studies are helpful in a classroom, but not so helpful for curing boredom. However, reading can be fun—and it can actually make you a better friend! Studies have shown that people who frequently read fiction are better able to understand other people’s feelings and are better able to see the world from someone else’s perspective. Need a summer reading suggestion? Here are a few of our favorites!

1. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Emily Giffin is a New York Times best selling author, and, according to fans, her new novel was well worth the wait. Marian Caldwell is a 36-year-old television producer who has a fulfilling career, a successful relationship, and her life figured out, until a secret from her past appears. Eighteen-year-old Kirby Rose stumbles into her life, throws Marian off balance, and teaches her the importance of reevaluating her future.

2. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
This is J.K. Rowling’s first non-Harry Potter book, and it was a hit among young adults. The novel is set in a suburban town in West Country and focuses on the happenings of the town, its secrets, and a tumultuous election.

3. The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
Nora Eldridge is an elementary school teacher who had dreams of becoming an artist. With the introduction of a new student whose life and family are complicated, Nora starts to learn what it means to live an honest and genuine life.

2. Try a group fitness class

Your school’s gym was super convenient, but it can be hard to get into a workout groove when you’re back at home without it. This summer, instead of heading to the gym with a vague plan of treadmills and hand weights, try out a group fitness class. You can find everything from Zumba to spinning to kickboxing at your local gym or fitness center. Need more gymspiration? See what your favorite celebrities are doing to get their exercise fix.

3. Learn a new language

Have dreams of traveling abroad? Think about how much more you could get from the experience if you had a background in the native language. Learning a new language is a productive way to keep your brain sharp and use your free time this summer. Software like Rosetta Stone is reliable and effective. The DVDs have levels and increase in difficulty as you go along. Rosetta Stone offers programs in 30 languages, so if you want to learn Spanish, Swahili, or Indonesian, you’ve got the power this summer. If the price of language software is too steep for you, there are hundreds of cheap language instruction Podcasts you can subscribe to on iTunes. These vary from 15-30 minute sessions and can expose you to authentic accents. Once you get a good grasp on it, you can try watching a movie in your new foreign tongue!


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4. Do some DIY room organizing

Whether you’re living in your room at home or in a new apartment over the summer, your living space can always use some sprucing up! After running around all day at a job or an internship, what could be better than coming home to a clean and vibrant home? There are several inexpensive ways to spruce up a living space. Shanty 2 Chic has DIY projects for organizing your closet, bedroom, kitchen, and any other space that needs tidying. Pick a new location for every few days and see what you can do with the space. Especially if you’re home for the summer and living in your childhood bedroom, it may be time to de-clutter and organize. Before you know it, you will have a living space with the things you need in a style you love.

5. Investigate your culinary potential

Cooking can be difficult. Some people have a knack for knowing how much “a pinch of salt” is, and some people don’t have those instincts. But if you belong to the latter category, that doesn’t mean cooking is a lost cause for you! This summer, start small. Websites like Cooking Light have easy, light, summer recipes that range from smoothies to pasta salad—how does a fresh summer pizza sound to you? Rachael Ray’s recipes are easy to follow (and delicious). If you’re looking for a beginner’s place to start, try her peanut butter brownie cups. You could also try out HC’s favorite skinny dessert recipes and comfort food recipes!

6. Start a blog

Do you have a secret interest or passion? Write about it! Starting a blog is an intellectually stimulating way to fill your time this summer. Make a goal of how many times you want to update it per week and stick to it! Websites like WordPress allow you to start a blog for free and use their templates, so don’t worry if you’re not too tech-savvy. Blogs are a great way to showcase your writing ability and knowledge about a particular subject as well as express yourself. If you’re planning on traveling this summer, keep track of the places you go with photographs and supplement them with a blog post. You never know when an experience you have will be interesting to someone in the future—maybe even a future employer!

Finding ways to find your free time can seem difficult, but not when you start one of these hobbies. In fact, why not combine a few of them? Make an eco-friendly grocery bag to use when you go to the store to buy ingredients for your fabulous new recipes, or blog about your favorite exercise classes or books you’re reading. Before you know it, you’ll be back at school and wondering where all your free time went, so don’t let boredom get the best of you this summer!

 

Photo Credits
Girl Reading
Girl on Computer

I am a junior and a Campus Correspondent for Connecticut College! I am majoring in American Studies and a PICA scholar. I was a High School Ambassador for HerCampus in 2010-2011 and a contibuting writer 2011-2012. I love writing, editing, and social media. This fall, I am a Student Coordinator for the Women's Center, a photographer for College Relations, and am also a member of SafetyNet. When I'm not writing, I love being outside and enjoy many many different types of music. I also enjoy shopping at the Container Store, sharpie markers, thunderstorms, onesies, Gilmore Girls, The Newsroom, New Girl, 60 Minutes, and The West Wing. 
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