A Guide to Surviving the Summer

No, this isn’t about safety abroad or using sun protection; (although we do advise those things) this is about how to get through the long summer months which fall between exam period and fresher’s week without losing your mind.


The last week of term after exams always feels free, and celebratory, but what then? What do you do from late May to September? Of course, a lot of students have jobs or internships, but in the last few years it has seemed more difficult to find these opportunities, which means you may lose motivation.

So what can you do? Well…

Write something – you have all the time in the world now to just write something you want to write, not because you’ve been told to, not because you have an impending deadline. You could write something fantastic that would get published, you could write something utterly terrible that you never show to anyone, that won’t get you a bad grade. You could explore and develop some of the things you wrote over the academic year (because don’t we all improve so much between week 1 and now?) The point is that if you do something which feels productive, it is likely to motivate you to do other productive things.

Take up a hobby – It doesn’t have to be a new craft, it can be something that slowly became less prominent as the academic year got more and more crazy. What do you love to do? Think about it, do you miss it? Do it. Again, sometimes it’s difficult to get motivated to even do things that you know you love doing when you feel like you have nothing to do, but seriously, go and make a pie, bake an upside down cake, build a computer, make your own dress, plant some vegetables. Seeing and holding the product of your own work is extremely fulfilling.

Read a book – Read two books, read ten, read a hundred. This is your opportunity to pick up any book in the world and read it just because you want to. Apart from being one of the best feelings in the world, it will still hone your reading skills and your writing skills. One of the first things I was taught at Brunel was ‘the more you read, good great or terrible, the better your writing will be’.

Do voluntary work – If you’re looking for actual paid work, then voluntary work won’t get in the way. It is flexible, it’s far easier to get into than a paid position, because in general, if you have the time, you are qualified. It will also look great on your CV and will get you out of the house for a few hours each week.

Start a blog – This kind of goes hand in hand with ‘Write something’, but then again, you blog doesn’t have to be for stories or your other creative work. You can take anything you enjoy and blog about it. Film reviews, books, games, crafts, cooking, health and fitness, nail art. The world, as the say, is your oyster when it comes to blogs, and it’s hard to explain how surreal and satisfying it is seeing views accumulate from all over the world.

Those are a few tips, hopefully they’re useful to you in some way. What are your tips for staying productive over the summer?

*** Don’t forget to follow @brunelwriter on Twitter for information about competitions, job opportunities and quotes of the day.

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4 thoughts on “A Guide to Surviving the Summer

  1. Great advice! I am definitely going to keep writing and blogging, pick up a book and waste way too much time with gaming. In fact, my summers are always too short… Especially now that I am an actual university student and it is nice to know that there aren’t deadlines looming at the moment.

    1. Fantastic to hear! Did you know that playing video games have been proven to improve our problem solving and analytic skills? So if anyone tells you that you’re wasting your time… Also, as writers we do have the advantage of being able to argue that we are ‘analysing the storyline’ of nearly anything! Have a great summer!

  2. Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long)
    so Iguess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say,I’m thoroughly enjoying your
    blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m
    still new to everything. Do you have any tips for newbie
    blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment! My top advice for writing blog posts would be to write in a tone that gets the information across that you’re aiming for but in a way that sounds personable, almost as if you were talking to/ explaining it to a friend. Secondly, tweet links to your posts if you’re on Twitter, it’ll get the blog out to more people and quite often you’ll find that your followers will have similar interests to you. As well as that, don’t forget to add ‘tags’ to your post, so if it’s a film review you could list ‘film’, ‘horror’, ‘review’, ‘The Conjuring’, etc. as these are the type of things people will google, and hopefully they’ll stumble across you! Although it’s not necessary, you might want to add images to your posts as it just breaks up the text a little bit and catches people’s attention a little bit more. Hopefully that helps a bit! Feel free to tweet me personally @EmphaticPanda if you’re on Twitter and I’ll answer any more questions you may have!

      Thanks again, Laura

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