Make the most of your summer vacation
Assistant InsideOut Editor
The term March Madness (besides the popular basketball tournament) defines only the very surface of the psychological state students find themselves suffering through during the final weeks of the school year.
The assignments are piling up, the exam preparation has begun, students are distraught over un-opened grad school letters, and social lives have become a stale, distant feature of the past. But, in all of the stress induced malnourishment and sleepless nights, we push forward on our trek because the faintest glimmer of light remains stagnant at the end of the dark, dreary tunnel.
By the end of April we can burn our note books and rejoice with a celebratory beer (or five) because we have made it through yet another year at McMaster.
For some of us, graduation ensures that we never have to suffer through March Madness again. For others, well I’m sorry, you still have years before the ringing in your ear finally subsides. Either way we all have the summer to look forward to and these four glorious months of hot weather and BBQ’s is exactly the incentive we need to keep our heads above water.
After eight months of hard work and dedication, the much needed summer vacation is a time for students to relax and recuperate. Although some of us will be fortunate enough to have a fantastic summer travelling around Europe, others may find themselves working two part-time jobs catering to know-it-all teenagers and the elderly.
Whatever your summer excursion entails, make the most out of the four month vacation because before you know it, you’ll be clicking the solar button for five consecutive hours, trying to choose your classes for September.
If you’re graduating this year, take the time and spend the money to indulge in a well deserved grad trip. You’ve worked your ass for years, writing midterms and stressing about grades, and it’s about time you do something for yourself.
With a bit of research, you’ll find that travelling can be affordable for virtually any budget. Gallivanting around in Europe or Asia for a month will be pricy, but if you plan a last minute rendezvous in Cuba, you’re trip can cost you less than $1, 000 (a year’s worth of books). There are ways to get around paying full price: try purchasing a ticket on stand-by, stay in hostels, avoid touristy destinations with overpriced novelty gifts, and thoroughly search the internet for cheap deals. Plan for a trip that works within your budget and personal desires but also try to be spontaneous.
If you’re going back to McMaster for another school year and you’re not quite sure if blowing thousands of dollars on travel expenses is the best financial decision for you, then try looking into other travel options that offer bursaries. McMaster offers several scholarships for students who wish to travel during the summer.
Countless programs for international exchange and volunteering abroad during the summer are also available. A quick google search and you’ll find literally hundreds of summer programs that are offered throughout the world and for many of these programs, students can apply for government grants or scholarships. Sure, you’ll have to actually do some volunteering abroad, but it sure beats working at a grocery store for the summer.
For those of us following the path down two part-time jobs avenue, the summer may seem rather bleak in comparison to sightseeing in Brazil our volunteering in South Africa. Although travelling for the summer may not be a viable option, that doesn’t mean you’re summer will be any less fun or relaxing—you’ll just be a little less culturally experienced, unless you count encounter accents as a cultural experience. Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and work for the summer, whether this means going home to live with the parents or finding a job here in Hamilton, the adjustment can take work; although, on the bright side, I’m sure you’d rather be serving food then studying for exams.
If this is your unfortunate case, as is mine, then try to make the most of your summer by planning easy and affordable vacations.
Living in Sudbury, Ontario there is never any shortage of the great outdoors. Plan a camping trip with your friends and get back
to nature; there’s nothing like a night of marshmellows, cold beer, and star gazing to put you in a good mood. Renting a spot to pitch tent at one of Ontario’s many provincial parks is under $100 for the weekend. If you’re really feeling adventurous, pack up your gear, grab your friends, and set up camp somewhere secluded—the best part, it’s free!
If camping isn’t your thing, then why not plan a cross-country excursion. Borrow your parents old, beat up station wagon and drive out east to experience Canada’s seaside. Take a two week holiday and see the west coast; Canada has a lot to offer and you can gain a lot of experience from seeing your own country before travelling to others. Whether you’re travelling across China or just taking a day trip to China Town in Toronto, your summer vacation is what you make of it. We all deserve this much needed break and there are plenty of opportunities that you can take advantage of in order to ensure you’re summer vacation is a worthwhile experience.