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Aug 07 2015
by Nicki Kaplan

16 Ways to Disconnect and Still Have Fun

By Nicki Kaplan - Aug 07 2015
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In between classes and your job (if you have one), will be precious free time. You can spend it on your phone or laptop, or you can disconnect from technology for awhile and try out one of these 16 things to do.

1. Try your hand at cards.

Card games can keep you busy for hours, and the beauty of cards is that you can transform one deck into countless games. First, search up some games and learn the rules. Next, get a group of friends together in your dorm lounge. Grab some snacks and bingo, you're ready for hours of fun.

2. Go for a picnic.

When the weather's nice it's fun to make use of the great outdoors. Grab some sandwiches from a nearby café or pick up some fixings and make them yourself. Then, find a nice, grassy spot on campus and enjoy lunch with a group of friends. After all, everything tastes better outdoors.

3. Head to the ice or roller rink.

If your campus is near a local rink, make sure to lace up and take advantage of some fun and relatively cheap exercise. For a fee of most likely just a few bucks, you and your friends can rent some skates and spend a good couple hours skating and enjoying each others' company. If your school is near an outdoor ice rink, in the winter skating can be a fun and festive activity that allows you to enjoy the outdoors even when it's 30 degrees out.

4. Arrange a pick-up game.

A lot of times you enjoy sports, but don't want to deal with the competition or put too much time into something you may not be good enough at or very passionate about. However, if you occasionally long for the swish of the net when you score a goal in soccer, then a pick-up game is the perfect way for some noncompetitive fun. Arrange a game of volleyball, flag football or even ultimate frisbee — you'll have way more fun than you'd think.

5. Go sledding.

You may be thinking that sledding is just for kids but trust me, the fun never gets old. If your campus is near a hill, then sledding can be the perfect activity when you feel trapped indoors due to the winter chill. If you have friends that live near campus, head up back to their place to grab a sled (somebody is bound to own one). Otherwise, you could split the cost of a sled among your friends and figure out a place to store it — whether that's in the lounge or the basement of your dorm building.

6. Have a beach day.

If you're lucky enough to have a campus along a beach or a lake, then you should definitely be taking advantage of that. If it's nice out, grab the towels and sunscreen and soak up the sun or play some beach volleyball and wade in the water. If it's cooler out, go for a walk or a jog along the coast. Either way, there's something peaceful and mesmerizing about spending some quality time near a body of water.

7. Get busy in the kitchen.

If you've ever wanted to try out your culinary skills without your parents fretting about the mess, now is your chance. Find a simple recipe that doesn't require many ingredients or complex steps and hit up the grocery store with your buddies. If you're craving a sweet treat, Oreo balls are both delicious and generally require only two or three ingredients plus minimal cleanup. They can be fun to make, too. Bottom line: get your chef on and make quesadillas or pancakes or whatever else appeals to your tastebuds.

8. Grab some chips and friends.

There's nothing like a chill hangout in your dorm's lounge. Grab some munchies and settle on the couches with friends and acquaintances who live in rooms nearby. This is a chance to make new friends and strengthen old relationships while satisfying those salty cravings. Tell funny or interesting stories, make some new inside jokes and have fun with it.

9. Host a game day.

Whether you like board games, puzzles, tabletop games or video games, make some time to enjoy the fun of some friendly competition amongst your friends. You never know, you may be a ping-pong champion or a Monopoly enthusiast.

10. Go hiking or walking.

It's always nice to spend time in the great outdoors and get some easy exercise while you're at it. Hiking and walking are both refreshing activities that can help you clear your mind and get your heart rate going. Grab a friend and explore the pathways nearby or on your campus and enjoy the company of one another as you cover ground.

11. Go see a school production.

So much goes into a musical, a play and a concert. From endless hours of practice to all the little technicalities, it takes a lot of people to put on a good show. Grab some friends and go see what your school has to offer and what students have been working so hard at so people like you can watch and be entertained. You won't be disappointed.

12. Get artsy.

Head to the craft store or Target and pick up some ribbons or other materials. Hang up that bulletin board in your dorm room and outline it in your school's colors. Or put up some pendants or string some lights if your school allows it. It's fun to search for that decorative bed pillow or that picture frame that makes your dorm room feel more like home.

13. Curl up with a good book.

A good book can be as addictive as that new show that you're watching on Netflix. So take some time to appreciate and enjoy the fun literature this world has to offer. Finish "The Hunger Games" series or the "Divergent" series before the next movie come out. Or treat yourself to a John Green book — his writing is beautiful. Above all, you'll end up discovering how fun it is to submerge yourself into the magical world of a good novel that you are reading for yourself and not for school.

14. Give yourself a spa day.

After the mountain of homework that you completed over the week, it's time to destress and relax. Shower and shave. Trim and paint your nails. Wash your face with a gentle exfoliator. Put on some moisturizer. Brush your teeth and use some mouthwash. Relax with a cup of tea. Close your eyes and listen to some gentle music. You owe it to yourself to feel clean, fresh and satisfied.

15. Practice an instrument.

Whether your a novice or an expert, music is a fun way to relax and learn something new. Now's the time to learn those new guitar chords or fumble through that piano sheet music. If you're feeling a little more social, grab a group of friends and have a jam session. Either way, you'll get into the groove.

16. Plan a day trip.

If your school is near a cool place like a local mall, an amusement park or a fun city, then you should definitely take advantage of what those places have to offer. It's nice to explore beyond the campus every once in a while, and it is likely that your college campus has shuttles that will take you to these places. Go with a group of friends and have the time of your life.


Lead Image Credit: Viktor Hanacek

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Nicki Kaplan - Northwestern University

Nicki Kaplan is a freshman at Northwestern University majoring in journalism. In the next four years she plans to finish her novels in hopes of publishing them and make the most out of her journalism career as a student. In her free time she likes to obsess over cute animals, hit the gym, head to the beach, play the guitar and piano, meet and befriend awesome people and laugh a lot.

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