Ways to have a fun and productive summer


Olivia Reid

Two Harbor Point residents have a conversation on the Harbor Walk. Photo by Olivia Reid / Mass Media Staff

Katrina Sanville, Arts Editor

Summer break is quickly approaching for UMass Boston, and while it can feel as though it’s still ages away, many students may be looking for ways to make the most of their vacation. While many will want to use their breaks to catch up on sleep or spend time with friends, many other students may want to use summer to be productive. For those looking for a bit of inspiration as to how to spend their summer, or want a few more ideas, here are a handful of proposals.
The best way most students can spend their summers and be productive is to work. College is expensive, and many students work a job—or even multiple jobs—in order to fund their education. While working isn’t the most glamorous way to spend a summer, especially if it is a laborious or exhausting retail or food service job, it does automatically ensure some money for college students who are usually tight on money.
Jobs, even the most draining and demeaning of positions, are great ways to build up a resume and gain some experience. Rather than focusing on the negatives of working minimum wage jobs—annoying customers, low pay or long hours—it can be helpful to focus on the positives. Some students may have friends at their jobs, or they can help build skills like teamwork, people skills or efficiency. If that isn’t the way students choose to look at their jobs, then the prospect of making money may also be a selling point. If any student is still looking for a summer job, Student Employment Services may be able to help interested students find some!
Much like finding a job, volunteering is also a great way to keep occupied over the summer. While volunteering won’t be as monetarily rewarding as working a job, it can be rewarding in other ways. Volunteering can help build many of the skills that jobs can, as well as benefitting students and those around them. There are a variety of organizations to volunteer with, ranging from animal shelters, homeless shelters, food pantries, environmental organizations or hospitals. While some organizations may not be accepting new volunteers due to COVID-19, many are, so be sure to reach out to any local groups of interest to see!
For those looking to expand their knowledge, or just get ahead on some credits towards their degree, UMass Boston offers a variety of summer courses for students to take. While many of the classes have already filled up, there are plenty that are still open and available for students to take. There are online, remote and in-person classes, ranging from Africana Studies to Nursing and anything in between. The summer term has two sessions—Session I beginning a few weeks after spring semester ends on May 31 and running until July 14, and Session II runs from July 18 until Aug. 25. Summer courses, while they can be a bit more intense due to the short timeframe, are a great way to get ahead on credits and learn a bit more.
Summer is a great time for students to try and pick up new hobbies or skills. Whether it’s baking, roller skating, painting, candle making or learning a new language, the three months of summer without the stress of schoolwork and grades is a perfect time to focus energy in a productive way on something that young people may have wanted to learn how to do for a while but just haven’t had the time. In a digital age, learning a new skill has become easier than ever, with tutorials and even supplies being just a few clicks away. These hobbies may also be a way to make a bit of money as well, depending on how successful students become at the skill!
If all else fails, summertime is the perfect chance to relax and spend time with friends. While this can mean walking around Boston, taking a trip to the Cape or Maine, going to the movies or just staying home, the warm weather is the perfect time to reconnect with friends after a stressful semester and relax.
However students find productivity this summer, there is a whole world of possibilities for them to explore. Whether this is through work, volunteering, classes or some fun activities, summer can be both rewarding and entertaining. Summer break is only a few weeks away, so whatever plans students have, they should make the most of them and try to relax at least once.