For many students, this happens break after break: All of your friends are going somewhere fun and exotic, but you find yourself stuck at home. At first, this occurrence seems both unattractive and unfair. However, having been in this situation many times myself, I can confidently tell you that you need not despair. You don’t need to go to the beach to have a good time. Hanging out with friends or in your room with Netflix as your only companion can be more rewarding and relaxing than a week suntanning (which is bad for your health anyway). Here are some ideas to make your time at home your best vacation yet!
1. Meet up with friends.
They can’t all be away, right? Recruit the others wasting away in front of the television and spend some time together. It doesn’t matter what you do — get lunch, go bowling or raid Target. For example, once my friend and I tried to ride bikes in Walmart (recording the whole adventure on Snapchat), and we were asked to leave. While I don’t encourage you to break rules or get in trouble, this experience provided me with an adrenaline rush akin to that of winning a tropical beach volleyball game and proves that any activity can be a thrill if you let it.
2. Teach yourself something new.
Maybe you’re not learning to parasail, but a simple Google search for “DIY” will give you plenty of ideas for new skills and improvement projects. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to sew your own flannel shirt or learn to bake a pie; take this time to expand your horizons and learn something that you never would have in school (or if you didn’t have all this time to kill). As a bonus, you’ll be able to show off your new talent or undertaking once school begins again, and everyone will be super impressed.
3. Find a good book or TV show.
It’s been years and you still haven’t seen Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black. Fortunately, you now have enough time to binge-watch the entirety of not just one but both shows, and once again you’ll be able to wow your friends with not only your knowledge of the shows but also your devotion and dedication to watching them. If binge-watching isn’t your thing, pick up a book; if you’re like me, then you have a to-read pile next to your nightstand that’s as tall as the bed itself. And you certainly won’t be able to bring all those books to your dorm room with you, so you need time to start chipping away at the collection. Challenge yourself and see just how many books you can read before you have to re-enter the real world.
4. Explore your hometown.
No matter how long you’ve lived where you do, chances are you haven’t seen nearly everything there is to see in your hometown. Whether it’s a salon where you could never see yourself getting your hair done, a restaurant that serves food you don’t think you’ll like or a clothing store where you don’t plan on buying anything, stop in and have a look around. You might meet someone new or find something you really like. Even trekking to the supermarket can be an adventure in itself! In the process, you will learn more about the place you live and the people who live there than you ever thought there was to know.
Relax! Do your nails, put on some music and dance around the house. Make some hot chocolate and don’t get off the couch all day. Go to bed super late and wake up even later. Maybe all last semester you wanted to catch up with your cousin — now is the time! During the school year, we’re all so busy, and it’s hard to find time for yourself. Spend your free time however you want it — after all, you wouldn’t be able to sleep in if you were somewhere else and had tours and sightseeing planned — just be sure that it’s something you want to do.
By the time the break comes to a close, you’ll realize that you accomplished more than you believed was possible. You learned new things and de-stressed in the process. You went on adventures while sticking close to home (which probably means you saved money –—good for you!). Even though going away seems like your best option, many times it’s the memories you make and the people you spend time with that make any experience memorable. So don’t despair: Make your “staycation” the best possible time you can, and you will close out your break disappointed only because you wish it had been longer.
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