It’s all too easy to get stuck into the same routine day in, day out and have countless opportunities pass you by. With only a couple of months to go until the Christmas break, make the most of your time this semester and get something different into your weekly schedule with 10 things that you should try right now.
- Get active with SPORTICIPATE
Banish the winter blues by getting active with SPORTICIPATE – Manchester’s beginner-level activity programme for all students! Whether you fancy getting down to the floor with breakdancing, dipping your toes in the water with swimming or taking up Ultimate Frisbee – there’s plenty of fun and free sports to join.
- Explore life beyond Oxford Road
Take the bus down to Didsbury or head to Altrincham for a taste of Manchester life in the suburbs. The Makers Market hold regular events in West Didsbury and Chorlton, where you’ll meet a range of creative, designers, bakers, musicians and artists as well as treating yourself to some tasty goodies and home accessories.
A short distance from the City Centre, you’ll find lots of amazing green spaces and heritage sites including Wythenshawe Park, Lyme Park and Reddish Vale Country Park. Further afield, grab your walking boots and hike the Peak District and take in some amazing views. There’s much more to life than Oxford Road – you just need to get out there and explore it!
- Join the debate and challenge injustice
Open to all second year undergraduate students, the Social Justice Challenge is a great way to think differently about core issues including mental health, homelessness, migration and energy.
If you’re looking to develop your knowledge, skills and understanding of complex problems facing society and to be inspired to take action on issues that are important to you, log in and complete the challenge – and what’s more it will only take an hour to complete.
- Sign up to a society or create your own
From anime to Shakespeare, the Students’ Union has over 400 different societies ready and waiting for you to try. Joining a society is a great way to meet new people who share your interests and passion – it’s also the perfect opportunity to get involved with something you’ve never done before and to develop your skills.
The SU has a range of religious, cultural, political, academic, arts, media, performance, sports and recreational societies – so there’s something for everyone. But, if you don’t find what you’re looking for you can always start your own society!
5. Prepare yourself…it’s nearly time for the Christmas Markets
Yes – it might still be October. But Manchester’s Christmas Markets begin from 9 November until 22 December. There will be more than 300 chalets winding round the streets of the city centre and will include all sorts of arts and crafts to buy (from Belgian kitchenware to Hungarian goulash). And don’t forget – it’s free entry!
And if you’re even keener for Christmas, head over to Albert Square on Saturday 3 November for the Manchester Christmas Lights Switch-on, which will feature a spectacular 10-minute firework display!
6. Get smart about your money
With Christmas in mind, it may seem all too easy to splash out on gifts for your loved ones with your student loan or those extra pennies from your part-time job. Our own Content Ambassador Lydia has given her advice on how you can save some money at university. Or, you can head over to the Student Support website to check out their top tips for saving those all important pennies.
One particularly useful app you can download is called Fudget. The app is an extremely popular budgeting app (over 1 million people use it); it keeps track of your spending, and lets you create a daily, weekly, or monthly budget.
7. Learn beyond your degree with UCIL
Ever wanted to learn more about the digital world? Or have you been interested in learning the basics of British Sign Language? With UCIL, you can study outside of your degree discipline and explore different subjects. The start of the new year is only a couple of months away, so why not explore the range of different UCIL topics?
Expand your way of thinking and explore the key questions facing society in the 21st century by signing up for a UCIL course ahead of next semester. It’s the perfect way to explore the areas you are passionate about as well as incorporating them into your degree!
8. Parlez vous Francais?
Have you always liked the idea of speaking another language but never quite managed to find the time to learn one?
Why not make the time and learn a new language with the University Language Centre? There are over 80 course units to enrol in either alongside your degree or studied for credit.
Or, you can learn a language in a completely relaxed and informal style with a class at the International Society. Here you’ll be taught by volunteers, amongst a group of like-minded learners, without a single exam in sight. Perhaps you fancy learning Arabic, Dutch or brushing up on your French and Spanish – either way, find out what languages are on offer!
9. Do something different with your weekends
With 101 things to do in Greater Manchester – how many have you crossed off? As well as exploring life beyond Oxford Road, there are so many other places and attractions on your doorstop just waiting to be explored.
Delve into history and travel back in time with the Manchester Museum and the John Rylands Library or explore the home of one of the region’s most famous female novelists, Elizabeth Gaskell or visit Chetham’s Library. Plus, There’s also the National Football Museum, where you’ll be able to explore the history of the nation’s favourite sport, and the Imperial War Museum in Salford, where you’ll find the history of Britain and war.
If history isn’t your kind of thing, have a night out at the laid-back basement club of Matt and Phreds or party in Manchester history at The Deaf Institute. Or if you’re after something a bit more active, check out crazy golf at Junkyard Golf Club, watch the Manchester Giants slam-dunk or unleash your urban Viking at Whistle Punk’s Axe Throwing.
10. Give volunteering a go
If you want to give back or do your bit for the local and global community, why not look into volunteering? There are loads of volunteering opportunities here in Manchester for you to sink your teeth into – whether it’s mentoring young people, fundraising for charities, running events or even planting trees!
Volunteering doesn’t only benefit other people and the environment, it can boost your employability, help you meet new people and make you feel great! It also counts towards one element of the Stellify Award. There is something for everyone, whatever your interests, skills and availability. Check out the Volunteer Hub for the latest news and to find the perfect volunteering opportunity for you.