How College Students Can Still Make the Most of Their Coronavirus Summer

Tallie Beaconsfield
May 4, 2021

Your spring semester ended with online courses and exams thanks to the coronavirus. Your summer plans were changed too, with lockdowns and social distancing meaning jobs and travel plans were no longer an option.   Still, summer offers some well-earned time off that you should enjoy, even under unexpected circumstances. Rather than letting the summer of the coronavirus pandemic turning into a boring expanse of sunny days, use these tips to make the most of your time.  

Reconnect with family

Treat this downtime as an opportunity to reconnect with family members. As states across the country start to gradually reopen and permit small gatherings, you will have the opportunity to get together with siblings, cousins, and grandparents to catch up.   Host a casual outdoor get-together – in a socially distant way, of course – so that you can catch up with family you don't usually get to see much during the school year. While you might not be able to throw big parties, you can certainly build quality family time into your summer.   

Try a new hobby

With your summer plans decimated because of the coronavirus, make the most of this unexpected free time. During the academic year, you were likely busy with classes, clubs, internships, and your social life. Your favorite hobbies (including ones you've always wanted to give a try) probably fell by the wayside. This summer gives you a chance to try them.  
  • Pick up a camera and build your photography skills.
  • Stroll through your town to discover hidden gems that are worth capturing.
  • Find a free online course that teaches you how to code, sketch, or repair your car.
  • Learn a new language or brush up on those high school foreign language skills that you haven't completely forgotten.
  • Watch some videos and teach yourself how to cook or bake. Your roommates next year will love this newfound skill.
  Photo by Godisable Jacob

Stay active

Don't let a slow summer steal your motivation to stay active. Instead, use this downtime to establish a regular fitness routine so that you can stay in shape. If you were working out on campus regularly in the spring, bring that routine home with you. If your local gym hasn't reopened, invest in some dumbbells, resistance bands, or a kettlebell to do some strength training at home.   Or, you can give a new workout a try. Start a running program, which allows you to exercise outdoors in a socially distant way. Discover new local hiking trails, or invest in a bike that you can use to explore your area.  

Stay connected

In order to make memories this summer, you need to connect with friends. In these times, you have to think creatively when you want to socialize.  
  • Schedule regular video chats with college friends who you miss.
  • Find creative ways to connect with friends while being respectful of the pandemic.
  • Get together with a high school buddy for a round of golf, or meet up a park so that you can catch up from a safe distance.
  Opportunities for socializing are still out there this summer – you just have to find ways to do them that are safe but still fun.

Get involved

With the pandemic, an upcoming presidential election, and the national discussion about racism, injustice, and equality in the U.S., students are dealing with a lot this summer. It can feel overwhelming, and one way to take some control is by getting involved.   Whether through online protest or activism, you can accomplish meaningful change. To get started, explore BlackLivesMatter or Democratic Socialists of America and see how you can make a difference.   The coronavirus pandemic doesn't have to destroy your summer. While you may not be traveling, or even working, during your break, you can still find opportunities to make memories with family and friends. When you do, you'll be refreshed and ready to return to school in the fall – whether that's online or on campus.  

Get prepared

Next semester will be here before you know it, and that means you'll have to know how you'll be funding your tuition.   The best thing you could do during the summer is to start researching which scholarships you can apply for and start applying. Not only are scholarships the best way to pay for college, but there's a lot of options that only require a little research.   To get started, check out and to see what scholarships are available. You can also research your major and anything else that might be relevant to your degree to find more scholarships you could qualify for.   To make your life easier, we put together a checklist for applying for scholarships that you can use to stay organized.