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6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chapel Hill chapter.

Once exams are over, you have an entire 3 months of glorious summer! Although some of us have internships and jobs, you probably still have more free time available than during the school year. Instead of lazing around on the couch, use that time to your advantage. Here are 6 ways to do just that:

1. Learn How to Cook

Cooking is a skill that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Being able to whip up a healthy meal instead of having BSkis on speed dial will not only save you money on food, but it will also help keep those fast food pounds from going straight to your butt. At first, cooking an entire meal seems like a daunting task, but with a little practice it will become second nature. Start out with easy recipes (Pinterest is a great resource) that only have a few ingredients, and then work your way up to the fancy stuff. Don’t get discouraged if you accidentally burn a few things (I set off the smoke alarm in my apartment more than once last year!), because that is just part of the learning process. Just pretend that you meant to do it– that chicken isn’t burned, it’s “blackened”!

2. Pick Up That Hobby You Have Been Wanting to Try

Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about a version of yourself that casually has an insanely cool hobby, like or archery or playing the guitar? It’s time to find a place to take classes on those activities, and actually sign up! Since it is summer and you don’t have any schoolwork to worry about, you might as well channel your creative juices into becoming a more interesting and well-rounded person. Get off the couch and go find your passion!

3. Redecorate Your Room/Apartment

It is summertime, and you are no longer in super-stress mode. It’s time to do something about your living space. Recycle those moldy pizza boxes and pick up those dirty clothes off the floor because it’s time for a makeover! If you are like me, you have an extensive Pinterest board full of cute little ideas for your room or apartment, but you have yet to actually implement any of them. Use your free time to do some of the DIY projects (tie-dye your sheets, make your own wall art or throw pillows) or hit up the thrift stores to find cheap furniture that you can paint in pretty colors to spice up your apartment. The home decorating project options on Pinterest are literally endless, so there is sure to be something for everyone.

4. Do Something On Your Bucket List

What do you want to do before you die? When do you plan on doing those things? Instead of putting them off into the indefinite future, check some off the list the summer. Plan that awesome road trip, or sign up to go Skydiving! If you need some inspiration or ideas for your list, check out the The Buried Life guys, because Bucket Lists are their specialty. Good luck!

5. Get a Cool Job

Most of us poor college kids are probably lacking the  funds to be able to pursue our new hobbies/decorating projects/Bucket list items. Time to get a job! But instead of applying to any old place that will take you, try focusing on places where you will actually enjoy working. Look for places with cool atmospheres like Mellow Mushroom or Open Eye Cafe. You could also check out places where you could get a useful employee discount, like Victoria’s Secret or Forever 21. If you are actually 21 years old, try taking a bartending class, and apply to work at your favorite bar!

6. Expand Your Knowledge

Although you may not be taking classes, you can still use the summer to learn new things. Take this time to catch up on current political issues, or read up on one of your unique nerdy passions.  You could also work on your fiction reading list or take advantage of the extensive list of documentaries on Netflix. Become an informed member of society, and expand your repertoire of intelligent conversation topics.

Melissa Paniagua is a senior journalism major at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, specializing in public relations. She is currently a fashion market intern at ELLE Magazine. On campus, Melissa acts as the Her Campus president as well as the vice president of the Carolina Association of Future Magazine Editors, UNC’s Ed2010 chapter. In the past, she has been an intern for Southern Weddings Magazine and a contributing writer for Her Campus. Melissa has an appreciation for all things innovative, artful and well designed and hopes to work in marketing for a women’s lifestyle magazine in the future!