Image from Stocksnap.

So you’ve finally completed your last exams of the year and you can’t wait to go home. You might be spending the next three months at home relaxing with your friends, or you might be working full-time over the summer, or you could even be traveling somewhere else new. Of course, the problem that faces us all over this holiday period is: what the hell do I do in my free time?

A month or three away from school sounds great – and then you get bored at home on the second day of semester break. Allow me to give you a few weird suggestions to keep you and your friends occupied. (Trust me: I spent my summer break on a farm by myself with just my Dad and Step-Mom for company. So I had plenty of fun ideas stocked up in my head.)

Suggestion #1: Host your own DIY ten-pin bowling night.

What you need: Glowsticks, ten clear plastic bottles of water/a clear fluid, a baseball or similar

Ten-pin bowling has always been cool. To me, at least. So on a good night, put at least three glowsticks in a bottle of water, repeat ten times, and set your makeshift bowling pins up in a clear space. Tell your friends to bring their own snacks and have a ten-pin bowling competition with your friends all night long.

Suggestion #2: Host a game night – with a twist.

What you need: The Jackbox Party Pack (1 & 2, both available on Steam for $24.99 each or for free on a torrent if you’re desperate) or Cards Against Humanity, which is free if you print your own cards since the templates are available for free on their official website. Any other type of game is good here, though.

The Jackbox Party Pack is a set of four or five games in one. A host computer selects which of the four or five games the crowd wants to play, and everyone can join in as long as they have a smartphone, tablet or laptop to play. Once you select a game, you get a room code and everyone wanting to play has to enter a name and the room code on a website – that doesn’t require setting up an account or anything just by the way – to start playing. Hilarity ensues, no matter which game you choose to play (my friends and I always end up laughing too much at each other when we play with the Jackbox Party Pack). You can decide to draw questionable art pieces to bid on, with hints as to what each piece is worth (Bidiots, Jackbox Party Pack 2) or you can lie to each other and complete sentences to fool other players into choosing your answer as the truth (Fibbage, Jackbox Party Pack 1 & 2).

Alternatively, if you and your friends are poor and can’t afford to pay for Jackbox Party Pack on Steam, download the card templates for Cards Against Humanity and print out your very own CAH cards. Doing this saves you heaps on spending money on the versions printed by the company themselves. If printing cards isn’t something you have time for, you still have another alternative: Pretend You’re Xyzzy is the most popular online version of the game, where you can create your own games with friends or join in on games created by other strangers.

Of course, a game night can also pertain to video games! Something my friends and I did was download the first three Crash Bandicoot games from the PSN and we jammed those until we were able to reach 100% completion on all three games. Getting 100% on your favourite childhood games is a lot harder than you think.

Suggestion #3: Do something adult-like, such as having a fancy dinner party

What you need: food. That’s it.

If you’re at home for the semester break, this is the perfect chance to crack out your cooking skills and show your friends what you’re made of. If you can get your dinner party bankrolled by someone generous (ahem, hellooo parents) then you have free reign on what you can make. Do something extravagant, like a slow-roasted lamb or some sushi, and do a dessert like a baked tart or a fridge cheesecake. If you need help, you can always rope your friends in! At the end of the night, you get brownie points for feeding your friends an awesome meal and you can feel confident that you’re able to cook for yourself when you go off to college again next semester.

This works at any time of the year, but if you plan your fancy dinner party for sometime around someone’s birthday or a public holiday then it’ll be even cooler since you can add a theme to your dinner party, like ‘all food is going to be the same colour as this person’s colour’ or ‘red, white and blue clothing only’.

Of course, these are only small ideas that are cheap, easily done and very simple to execute without setting your house on fire or something. The best ideas often come from your own imagination, so if you’re low on excitement in your semester break, utilise your imagination! You never know what crazy ideas you could come up with.

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the author

Nkhaya is a Psychology student who's still a little bit unsure about how to go about being an adult (even though she flew halfway across the world for her dream school). She has an unhealthy devotion to anything with chocolate in it, and loves to write in her spare time. When she's not busy studying, writing or marathon-watching series on Netflix, you'll find her on Twitter or Instagram (@nkhayapm).

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