Summer Bucket List Recommendations from a Torontonian
By Laura Fernandez, Press & Written Media Team
What’s on your summer bucket list?
Well, if you’re anything like me and have been cooped up all winter long, then you can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the sunshine!
As a university student living in Toronto, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on most, if not all the social activities that are typically in-person. Various school clubs and societies now meet online and have social gatherings on Zoom. Here, there has been in-person learning since last March, as well as a full lockdown in November; only now have some restrictions been partially lifted. This includes being allowed to gather outdoors or enjoy a cold drink on a patio, as of last weekend. Vaccinations for dose two are rolling out, so I’m excited for the number of cases to steadily decrease. I wonder if the border will reopen soon, and if travelling will take place before the end of the year.
Summer is a time for fun in the sun! I think that students should spend as much time as possible outside, which allows them to socialize with new people and explore different activities. It’s especially good to get outside now that the weather’s nicer, since most students have spent the entire winter staring at their laptop screen and listening to professors’ lectures online.
- There’s lots to do as a student. Food festivals and concerts are always a big must-see and do. There’s an annual Asian food festival held near Cherry Beach that has delicious food on skewers! Hopefully, socially-distanced concerts will start up again in the fall. I find live music to be the best — a lot better than recordings. Plus, the sound quality and atmosphere are great, and you’re surrounded by people with the same music taste!
- I usually take a course in the summer, so I can have a lighter course load in the fall and winter semesters. This allows me to spend more time doing things that I love, like exploring different clubs that Ryerson offers and connecting with various student groups. However, being a lot faster in pace and more condensed, the courses aren’t for everyone. For example, if there’s a lab portion to the class, then lab reports would be due in a couple of days versus during the school year, where they might be due every other week. Also, being a science student, it was strange to be doing online laboratories in lieu of various hands-on courses.
- I plan to take the ferry over to the Toronto Islands and explore it on my bike. It’s like a mini getaway from the city, and allows for stunning views of the CN Tower and the Downtown Toronto skyline! I’ve done triathlons on the island in the past, and from experience, I know that the beach swim is superb. I’d highly recommend it for anyone starting out in the sport. Picnics in parks are great too. Withrow Park, Riverdale Park and Trinity Bellwoods Park are some of my favorite greenspaces to frequent.
- Waking up to catch the sunrise at the beach or along the waterfront is a definite must. I used to have to get up early for work, but since I’m not currently working, I’ve had the opportunity to catch up on sleep. I do enjoy getting up early and feeling like I have a head start on the rest of the world.
- Pretending to be a tourist in your own city or town is a great way to try new food places, new activities or just different nooks of the city that you’ve never been to before. Drive-in movies at the Dock or Ontario Place are a must, as well as go-karting and mini-golf! They’re perfect for student socials and chilling with friends.
- My favorite sport is beach volleyball, and I can spend the entire weekend on the beach. It brings about a community feel, and there’s night ball that runs late into the evening. So, you can play all day and night, roll up the next day and repeat!
- How about a lazy beach day with friends? Grab your shades, pack a cooler full of goodies, bring a frisbee, volleyball, football, spikeball, sand toys and even a kite! Try stand-up paddle boarding. It’s a great workout and helps to build core strength and improve your balance.
- Drive up to a cottage or go camping in the great outdoors! Going hiking and perhaps bringing your dog along is enjoyable and can help you reach new heights. While you’re by the water, go kayaking or canoeing. Don’t forget the marshmallows to make delicious s’mores!
- Catching up on all the books you’ve wanted to read that aren’t school-related is a great relaxer and a nice way to pass time. It’s very convenient to read while commuting by subway, streetcar or bus to a local park or the Toronto Islands. When I would commute to school, I’d always be carrying a book in my bag, and notes as well so I could go over lecture material before quizzes and tests. I’ve always loved reading. I have an ever-growing bookstack in my room that I keep adding to, but I haven’t gotten around to reading for entertainment because of school. Read books that take you on a trip back to your childhood, like A Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter. Explore various genres like fantasy, start self-help books and leadership.
- Get a job and make some hard-earned cash! Gain some experience — it might not be in your field, but learning to work with people is an asset in any case.
- Get a driver’s license. Depending on where you live — for instance, a bustling city like Toronto with an accessible transit system — there might be no need. But if you’d like to drive up to a cottage country or take a road trip, there is!
- Volunteer with Wave Learning Festival, and other school clubs and student-led organizations in your area. Participating in online volunteer opportunities allows you to meet people outside of your own city and gain a fresh perspective. You can also see what students have in common. Volunteering is also beneficial, since it gives you real-world experience, helps you build your resume and creates connections with industry partners and professionals in different fields.
- One virtual bucket list item includes squeezing in some Wave workshops! There are plenty of topics to choose from, so there’s something for everyone. Also, I’m really passionate about science communication, and there are a lot of online workshops and conferences held by various universities that have well-renowned speakers in their fields.
Cheers to summer 2021! Remember to get outside and enjoy the sunshine!
Wave Learning Festival is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing free, live seminars, tutoring, college application help, career mentorship and more. If you would like to learn more about Wave Learning Festival, check out our website or contact us at email@example.com. Please consider contributing to Wave’s mission of making education accessible to all.