The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
If you find yourself finishing your degree midyear and don’t know what to do with the rest of your time, this article is for you!
You’ve just finished your exams in June/July, and finally concluded your undergraduate studies. You’re probably ecstatic! You want to study further, but most postgraduate qualifications often start at the beginning of the year. You find yourself free for about six months. Although the prospects of that much free time can be daunting, it does not have to be. You can get up to so much during this period that can contribute to your well-being and personal development. Besides working on your postgrad applications, here are a few things you could also get up to:
Reconnect and retrospect!
After the hard achievement of obtaining a degree, a break is well deserved. You can use this opportunity to work on yourself and make plans for your future. This is a great time for reflection. Take a trip down your undergraduate memory lane and analyse what modules you enjoyed and did well in. See how they are linked to what you are passionate about. Finding the link between these two aspects can help you find your ideal future job. It is also an opportunity to discover more about jobs you might be interested in. You could also work on creating a vision board of the next few years of your life. Vision boards are great because they serve as a source of inspiration and motivation to achieve your desired goals.
Read more, or start reading
Get into the habit of reading or read more if you were already the occasional reader. If you’re only starting to read now, you have so much time to discover the genres that you like. If you were already a reader, you can now explore even more books, possibly more genres and finally get to that pile of books beside your bed. According to Business Insider, reading improves memory and empathy. It also makes us feel better and more positive- maybe avoid reading the news, however. It has also been associated with helping depression, reducing stress, and reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s later in life.
Get a part-time job
If you don’t want to find yourself doing nothing at home all day, getting a job or internship, possibly in the field you’re interested in, would be beneficial. It’s an opportunity to stay busy, make money and acquire new skills or advance existing ones. Given the current climate with Covid-19, this path might be more challenging. However, there are opportunities for remote work, such as online teaching and tutoring. Some of the popular tutoring companies are Teach Me 2 and Turtle Jar. Most of these tutoring companies are looking for students and require little to no experience. You could also try teaching English online, but would need to obtain the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. Some of the online English teaching companies help you obtain the certificate before you can get started.
Work on getting a learner’s and driver’s licence
If you aren’t already driving, then this is a great opportunity to learn how to. You first start with your learners, which requires taking a written exam in order to qualify for a learner’s licence. To book the test typically costs between R68 and R250, and between R33 and R60 for the licence issuing fee. The costs vary across the provinces and different testing centres. Once you have your learner’s, you can then move onto your driver’s licence. Getting a driver’s licence is much more expensive than getting a learner’s. You first need to take the K-53 driving lessons, then undergo the driving test. There is an issuing fee for the licence, which also varies across the provinces. Having a driver’s licence is very beneficial, especially when applying to jobs because some jobs require a valid driver’s licence. Moreover, having a driver’s licence gives you more independence.
Take online courses and continue learning
Just because you’re done doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! You could take up online courses to help you develop new skills or learn more about the fields you’re interested in. There are various platforms that offer short online courses such as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and Udemy. Some of them are free, such as the ones on LinkedIn. Some you have to pay for, but they are not that expensive. On Udemy, the courses typically range from R250 to R1300 for a complete programme. They often have specials which give you discounts for the courses. There is usually no time limit to take the courses so you can spread them out how you see fit.
Work on your CV and LinkedIn profile
Although this won’t and shouldn’t take you five to six months, this is a great chance to fully focus your attention on crafting the best CV and LinkedIn profile you possibly can. Do some research on creating a good CV. Through research, you’ll get to learn about the best formats and structures for CVs, and tips to make your CV stand out. Also learn how to navigate LinkedIn so that it can become a useful tool in assisting you with getting a job in future.
Do some volunteering or get involved with organisations that do meaningful work. It’s a great way to give back, learn and acquire new skills. It also has a positive impact on your well-being. According to an article by the Western Connecticut State University, doing volunteer work connects you to others, increases your social and relationship skills, and increases your self-confidence, self-esteem and life satisfaction. This is because the good you are doing for others provides you with a natural sense of accomplishment, pride, and identity.
Although this might be limited because of covid, you could still visit some places locally or nationally. You’ll get to explore the beauty that surrounds you and the diverse cultures present in those areas. Travelling helps you open your mind to the different ways of living, helps you get in tune with yourself and presents you with an adventure!
There is so much you could do with all this time on your hands! You can finally do that thing you’ve always wanted to do but never got the time to, or you could pick up a new hobby. If you prefer not to get up to anything, that’s also fine, as long as you’re happy and prioritising your mental health and wellbeing. Whatever you decide to get up to, make sure you give it your best and enjoy it!