20 Ways to Have an Unforgettable Summer
Summer holidays are to be cherished.
Your days at school are probably packed with hard work and exams that seldom give you a breather. Even if they’re not, there’s the scary question of what to do next hanging over you. Summer holidays are an opportunity to take a break from all of that; to get some distance from it all – both emotionally and geographically.
But far too often, what seems like a wonderland of days stretching out in front of you gets so boring after the first couple of weeks in that you might even find yourself looking forward to going back to school. What you thought would be a summer straight out of Instagram turns out to be days blending into one while you completely exhaust the hanging-out potential of your local shopping centre.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be like that. With a bit of planning, you can make your summer truly unforgettable. Here are our top tips.
1. Learn something completely new
One way to make a summer truly memorable is to make it the summer that you finally learned how to do something you’ve always wanted to try. Oxford Royale Summer Schools’s summer school includes the option of a Film Academy course, for instance, where you get to learn about all aspects of the film-making process. If you get to make something tangible – whether that’s a short film or a long knitted scarf – so much the better to give you a wonderful souvenir of a summer well spent.
2. Make new friends
If you’ve been at the same school for a while, chances are you haven’t needed to make any new friends in a while either. While that’s a good position to be in, sharing your summer experiences with new friends will make them even more special – what if this is the summer where you meet the people who’ll be there for you for the rest of your life? Meeting new people and making new friends can help you explore your own personality too; they might bring out strengths in you that you never knew you had.
3. Go somewhere you’ve never been before
The world’s a big place and now is the time to start seeing more of it! That might mean taking the chance to explore your local area and visit the places you’d usually ignore, it might involve a long-haul flight or two, or it might fall somewhere between those options. Of course, we’d suggest that one place to visit, if you’ve never been there before, is the beautiful, historic, unforgettable city of Oxford, with heaps of famous sights crammed into a relatively small area for maximum exploring potential.
4. Have incredible experiences
The key to an unforgettable summer is to do some unforgettable things – that much seems obvious, yet plenty of people find themselves spending holidays in boring ways because they don’t make plans to do anything else. What are the experiences you’ve always wanted to have? Perhaps you’d love to go skydiving, or maybe you’d just really love to visit Platform 9 ¾. Whatever it may be, don’t just daydream about it – go ahead and make plans to do it!
5. Spend each day differently
When you’re sitting at your desk at school, going over the same revision notes for the third time, it’s easy to think that you couldn’t possibly get bored in the holidays. But you do, because anything that you do repeatedly will get boring eventually, even if that thing is reading all your favourite books and watching all your favourite shows with no school to interrupt it. So mix it up a little! At Oxford Royale Summer Schools, we do our best to ensure that no two days are the same – can you get that spirit of variety into your summer holiday?
6. Challenge yourself
You can have a fun summer only doing things that you already know you’re good at and will enjoy. But then, this article isn’t about how to have a fun summer; it’s about to have an unforgettable summer. You don’t normally remember the times that you succeeded at something that you already knew you were really good at; you remember the times you went out on a limb, pushed yourself, and then succeeded. So set yourself a real challenge, and give yourself the summer to achieve it.
7. Sign up to something great
Making your own fun is good, but lavish plans often end up cancelled or abandoned. One way to avoid that fate is to sign up to something that will guarantee you a memorable time. That might be an organised holiday, a volunteering opportunity – or, indeed, a summer school such as Oxford Royale Summer Schools. Whatever it is that you decide on, making a commitment to it by booking a place or signing up formally means there’s less chance you’ll get lazy and back out, especially if you persuade a group of your friends to join you.
8. Keep a record of your adventures
There’s nothing like photos and journals to help you look back on a brilliant summer. We live in an age when it’s never been easier to record the great times you’ve had, so document your summer properly. That might mean lots of selfies, but it might also mean regularly updating a blog or diary so that you have a proper record of where you went, what you did, and who you met. Then in years to come, you can reread what you wrote and relive your summer experiences all over again.
9. Hone non-academic skills
You’ve spent a lot of time in school practising your academic skills, and you might also have spent hours outside of school working on non-academic but nonetheless worthy extracurriculars like sports or music. It might seem that with university applications in the near future, there’s not much point focusing on anything that you’re not good at, or couldn’t put on an application form. But that’s hardly a recipe for enjoying yourself, so it’s good to use some time over the summer to reconnect with non-academic skills that you enjoy, even if you’re not outstanding at them.
10. Explore a subject you really love
There’s nothing that kills your love of an academic subjects quite like revising it to death and then having to regurgitate all of that in exams. So while it might seem counter-intuitive to spend time on academic subjects in your summer holidays, it’s actually a wonderful opportunity to remind yourself of why learning is enjoyable, and you can do that by getting to know your favourite subjects from new angles. At Oxford Royale Summer Schools, we aim to teach you things even about subjects you might think you know well, such as Mathematics, that you wouldn’t encounter in school – and that’s what makes lessons exciting.
11. Try out something you’d never have considered before
Your late teens are a time when your tastes are changing – there are probably things you used to find fascinating that are desperately boring to you now, while at the same time, things that would have bored you in the past are becoming much more fun (in the second category, you might find things like “visiting museums” or “baking”). So now is the perfect time to try out lots of new things as your tastes develop, and make this the summer that you’ll always remember for when you discovered a new passion.
12. Get ready for the next big step
Whether you’ve got a few years left before you finish school, or university is nearly upon you, the fact that the next major change in your life is on its way isn’t something you can ignore. But you can spend some time over the summer preparing for it. Oxford Royale Summer Schools offers a dedicated UK University Preparation programme, but all of our courses are tailored to take into account our students’ need to be ready for higher education. Feeling ready to move on from secondary school is a great way to remove a source of stress from the summer, and from the rest of the year.
13. Fill every minute
After end-of-year exams, you’ll feel like you want to flop on a sofa and do nothing for the rest of the summer. But relaxation turns into boredom remarkably quickly. Imagine looking back on this summer a few years or decades from now, and reminiscing about all those long hours spent on social media or Netflix marathons. It doesn’t sound plausible, does it? For a memorable summer, keep yourself busy.
14. Learn something really useful
It might be first aid. It might be how to repaint a room. It might be how to write a flawless essay. But learning something really useful this summer that you’ll remember for the rest of your life is a foolproof way to make this summer one you’ll remember in the same way. Whether you learn it through an organised programme or through your own trial and error, it’s also valuable to take charge of your own education if you’re feeling worn down by schoolwork.
15. Travel far from home
“Far” here can mean a long distance away geographically, or culturally, or just emotionally; if you’ve never been far enough away from home to feel homesick, now is the time to try it out. That might sound difficult, but all good adventures are at least a little bit difficult. Making this the summer that you travelled somewhere you found a little strange or a little frightening will make this a summer to remember.
16. Explore a new culture
The best thing about travel is broadening your mind with exposure to new cultures and new ideas. That might mean the culture of a foreign country, but it could also be a different culture within your own society; Oxford Royale Summer Schools’s programmes, for example, offer the chance to try out student culture by living in the buildings of the University of Oxford. And getting to know the cultures of the others is the best way to understand your own way of life from an enriched perspective.
17. Make the most of being a teenager
There are heaps of things that you can do as a teenager that you can’t do as an adult, beyond not needing to worry about utility bills. But when you’re nearing the end of your time at school, the chances you have to make the most of being the age you are will be running out – so make sure you use this summer to take full advantage of having the freedom of being a teenager without all the responsibilities of being an adult.
18. Seize opportunities
The major downside of working hard at school: you probably have to say “no” to a lot of things, like nights out, parties, activities, maybe even holidays. It can reach the point where you’re so used to saying that you’re busy that people stop asking. So spend the summer saying yes to as many opportunities as you can, even the ones you’re not entirely sure about, because you never know where they might lead you.
19. Get some perspective
It’s easy for ambitious, academic types to fall prey to exam-focused tunnel vision, where any slip in your grades is the worst imaginable disaster and everything has to be about your work. Use the summer to remind yourself that there’s a wider world out there with a whole lot of other exciting things going on. It won’t make your worries go away, but being reminded of all of the other options out there is great for making your own concerns seem that bit less scary, and might even open up possibilities you hadn’t considered before.
20. Relax and have fun
If you remember only one thing from this list, make it this last point. An unforgettable summer is one where you truly relaxed and enjoyed yourself to the utmost, and all of the other points on this list are only in service to the goal of having a summer that’s great fun. At Oxford Royale Summer Schools, we like to think that we know a thing or two about making a summer as enjoyable as possible – to make memories that you’ll never forget.
What do you think makes a summer unforgettable? Let us know in the comments!
Image credits: sunflowers; deckchairs with seagull; knitting needles and yarn; hands montage; road; mountain top; boots and bark; chess board; pen and paper; scrapbook; sheet music; book; cake pops; university building; clocks; candle; aeroplane; stonehenge; skateboard; popcorn; road; kitten.