Make the most of your summer break by picking up new hobby

There are 105 days of summer vacation before the fall semester starts on August 22. That’s 2,520 hours that are up to students to fill with anything from summer classes to an internship, from travel to time with friends. While all of these can be important parts to a fun and worthwhile summer, these next three months are also the perfect opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and expand your horizons by trying out different activities, picking up a hobby and meeting new people.

One of the first places you can start is by taking lessons. Even if you aren’t in any summer classes, you can always enroll in a music class, or perhaps take some dance lessons. If you do a little digging on the Internet, you can find a lot of surprisingly affordable options. For example, one high school in my hometown offers eight weeks of beginning guitar classes for only $50, and eight weeks of watercolor painting for $65. You can even learn how to be a beekeeper in three weeks for $30, if you’ve ever had a secret hankering to raise bees.

Another affordable place to look for lessons in a variety of subjects is Groupon. You can find discounts on classes in everything from pilates to aviation, fencing to sushi making. How many times in your life will you have a chance to learn how to fly an airplane? There are tons of unusual, interesting classes you can take, and summer vacation is one of the best times to take them, since many students may find they have more flexible schedules than they do during the school year.

Groupon is also great for finding discounts on new activities, things that you might not normally think to do. My best friend and I have already taken advantage of a deal on Groupon for a two-hour sailing lesson, even though neither of us has any experience on the water. Groupon offers deals on a wide array of activities, such as paint nights, escape-room adventures, muscle car driving experiences and swimming in a geothermal pool. While you’re spending time with friends this summer, branch out from the usual Friday night at the movies or Netflix marathon at home and try out some new activities instead.

Summer vacation is also a great time to get out and meet new people. If you don’t have classes or the kind of job that forces you to interact with people, it can be easy to fall into a social slump during the summer. Instead, go out of your way to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t. While taking lessons in something new and trying out new activities can lead you to meeting new people, you can also try joining a local club or organization.

If no official group comes to mind, check out Meetup, a website that helps you find people in your area who share a common interest. For example, there are currently 37 different groups on Meetup within 25 miles of Waco. Some meetup groups are super specific, such as the local club for Mini Cooper owners, while others are much more broad, like one local group that is open to people of any age or gender who are looking to meet new friends in the area.

While all three months of summer vacation stretch on ahead of us now, they’re sure to fly by. Make the most of these 105 days of summer, and in no time at all, we’ll be heading back to campus, getting ready for classes and homecoming.

Kalli Damschen is a senior English and journalism major from Layton, Utah. She is a reporter for the Lariat.