By Mina Todosijevic

Summer break during university is a time like no other. Rarely are we given four whole months with no responsibilities on blind trust that we’re going to use them for good.

I personally like to head into summer with the overenthusiastic expectation I’ll spend every day doing creative projects schoolwork usually keeps me from. While I rarely accomplish all I set out to, having some sort of goals in place usually motivates me to explore new place and activities. In case you still aren’t sure what to do with your break, I present to you a list of possible projects and activities to undertake over the summer:

A parader at Caribana

Parader at Caribana; photo by Gadjo Sevilla

Festivals, Fairs and Other Outdoor Events:

Toronto always has some kind of festival or convention going on, and summer is its peak season. Take advantage of living in the metropolis and test out some of what it has to offer. This is the first year I’m going to be in town for Warped Tour, so I’m infinitely excited to finally attend and pretend to be 15 again. If listening to whiny pop-punk is not your style, try out the Mac ‘n Cheese Festival (free admission!) or Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition at Nathan Phillips Square.

Topiaries

Photo by Tony Hammond

Gardening:

A sudden invasion of green marks the beginning of spring. Whether you have access to a garden back home, a balcony or even just a corner of your apartment, test out your green thumb with a few houseplants. This project has the added bonus of making your home feel wonderfully fresh.

Books on a shelf

Photo by Curtis Perry

A Reading List:

There’s nothing like lounging around with a good book. While I usually scarf down fun books during the break, I promise myself every year that this year will be the time when I’ll finally pick up some academic books and get ahead during the summer (Bourdieu, I’m looking at you). Try to push past your regular reading list into something different, be it a friend’s recommendation, a non-fiction book or just a different genre.

Do something active:

Saying goodbye to the gym is the happiest moment of the year. Personally, running around in circles makes me feel like a hamster on a wheel. While I’m still working up the courage to join those who do yoga in the park, the good weather means all physical activities can be pushed outside. Calling some friends out to organize a friendly match of your chosen sport is a fantastic way to spend a day off.

Museums, Art Galleries and Theatres:

During the year, these are all filed under “cultural activities I should be doing in my spare time, but can’t because of my essays/midterms/exams”. After a long day of studying and writing, it’s hard to drag myself out to an activity which requires thought when faced with the alternative of my couch and Netflix. Summer break gives a much-needed reprieve from that, which means cultural centres can return to being a fun day-trip. The Toronto Public Library runs a museum and arts program where it offers free tickets to a slew of arts and cultural venues. The Star has a great article on how to find affordable tickets.

The key to all summer projects is having a very rough plan in mind, and adapting whenever new opportunities arise. Personally, I like to make a huge list of all the people and places I want to see, as well as any overarching objectives, stick it up on my fridge and glance at it only a few times over the course of the next four months. Summer is a time for rest, exploring and relaxing; even without following a plan, everything usually comes out unforgettable.

What are your summer plans? Let us know on our Facebook page!