Aaand, it’s summer. The longest day of the year was on Saturday, 20th June – a day I commemorated by watching English Heritage’s livestream of Stonehenge for all of 5 minutes. Summer solstice has come and gone, and we’re now into the second half of the year. It’s pretty unbelievable to think that most of us have so far spent the majority of the year inside our homes… except it’s completely believable because we’ve lived it. Suffice to say, it’s been a slightly bizarre last few months.
With restrictions gradually easing, there’s more and more things to do and places to go. I’m so grateful to be able to go on a drive to the countryside, see the water, go on a woodsy walk! Whilst there are still many places that I still don’t feel comfortable visiting, I do want to have some semblance of summer. So, I’ve put together a mini summer bucket list.
Here are some ideas for things to do and places to go to get into that summer vibe, whilst still very much staying safe.
#1 – The Beach
The beach is my top summer destination and I’m making a plan for a safe and socially-distanced beach visit. Somewhere quiet, perhaps secluded, and definitely away from crowds. If I find the beaches too busy, I’ll settle for a coastal walk and picnic rather than sitting on the sand by the water.
#2 – Take time off work completely
As a PhD student, we don’t immediately get the summer off like undergrads do. We typically decide ourselves when we book our time off. I haven’t had a holiday since the Christmas/New Year break (plus one day off in February), so I’m definitely taking some time over the summer to do no PhD work. What I’ll do, I’m not sure. But it’s the perfect time to take a breather. Honestly, I might end up just baking, going on walks, cleaning, reading, watching films and video calling family and friends!
#3 – Learn Python (again)
I’m anticipating the need for improved/better Python programming skills than I currently possess, so I’ve started an open access course. I have some modelling work I want to start doing as part of my PhD in the next couple months so now’s a great time to get started learning!
#4 – Go cycling
I used to cycle fairly regularly before moving to Manchester city centre. I’m honestly quite scared of cycling on roads, so I’ve always just walked everywhere or taken public transport. But since I don’t reckon I’ll step foot in a gym again the rest of 2020, and the weather’s been fairly favourable, cycling’s something I’m quite keen to pick up again.
#5 – Propagate plants
I have a number of plants that are getting too big for their pots. The plan is to re-pot them and also see if I can propagate plants from leaf cuttings. I think it could be a really fun little project, and apparently is fairly straightforward to do. So we shall see if it really is foolproof!
#6 – Read
I’ve fallen off the literary wagon, so to speak. Although I’ve always been a bookworm, I’ve struggled this year to really get into a book. I have a few books in my ‘To Be Read’ pile, and I’m looking forward to getting started! Some special books include The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini
#7 – Go hiking
I have a few hikes and walking trails I’d like to do over the summer. I’ll definitely go on at least a couple longer hikes when I take some time off in July/August! Whether you’re looking to summit one of the highest peaks or looking for a milder family-friendly coastal walk, there’s one you can go on. Here are some ideas if you’re looking for hike/walk for yourself!
#8 – Arts & crafts
I’ve tie-dyed clothes, learned embroidery, started drawing (although not well!), baking, cooking, and more in lockdown. I don’t think I’ve indulged in so many activities in the span of time we’ve been in lockdown. I’ll soon be painting pots, a bench and a room (or two) as well! For ideas for simple ways to get crafty, check out Laura’s post!
#9 – Sleep
My sleeping schedule hasn’t been great, and I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in ages. That seems to be the case with nearly every single person I’ve spoken to. If all I accomplish over the summer is sufficient rest and sleep, I’ll be happy!
I know the last four months haven’t been easy, so I hope that at the very least you too get to have some time over the summer to rest, relax, recharge. And if you have any of your own ideas and plans for things to do over the summer, share them over at the Students at Home Facebook group!