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Money can be pretty tight when you’re studying a postgraduate course. With limited options for finance, students usually end up paying their own way through, relying on kind parents, or taking out a career development loan.
For this reason, postgrads are unlikely to be able to afford the pricey nights out or wild weekends that undergrads regularly enjoy. That’s not to say you can’t still have fun, though – we’ve come up with seven ways to unwind from your studies that even the poorest students can afford.
Provided you’ve already got a bike, cycling is an ideal way to explore new places while you study a postgraduate course. The best adventures are off the beaten track, so avoid urban areas wherever possible and pick a nearby town or village that’s filled with local curiosities. Don't worry about getting lost either - that's what map apps are for!
Geocaching is one of the more unique ways to get to know your new hometown. For those unfamiliar, this is an outdoor treasure hunt that involves using a GPS device (most likely your smartphone) to track down small, waterproof containers (‘caches’) hidden in various spots around the globe. Being the online phenomenon that it is, there’s bound to be several caches close to you – just log on to geocaching.com, find a local cache and get searching.
You’re bound to spend a lot of time in front of your computer as a postgrad, but if you don’t mind a little more on-screen activity then blogging is an ideal pastime. Simply choose a subject you’re interested in and write about it – ideally your blog posts will be topical and based on news or current events to draw in readers. Connecting with other bloggers is as simple as sending a friendly tweet or comment, so you may even find yourself a new group of friends to socialise with outside your studies - plus you learn a load of additional skills to add to your CV.
Thanks to social media’s ability to connect people with similar interests, book clubs are no longer the exclusive realms of literature buffs and library nerds. You can be specific about the type of books you read and talk about – there are book clubs devoted to all sorts of genres, ranging from medieval poetry to futuristic graphic novels. If books really aren’t your thing, similar clubs devoted to films, games and music also exist.
Don’t think you can’t take part in a university society just because you’re a postgrad. These are designed to be enjoyed by anyone studying at your institution, so it’s a good idea to go along to the societies fair at the start of term to see if anything grabs your interest. While some are expensive to join others are completely free, and you could open yourself up to an entirely new hobby.
If you’re an animal lover but live in a rented home that prevents you from owning a pet, consider helping out a local dog owner by taking their furry friend for a walk. Websites like BorrowMyDoggy.com are designed specifically to link busy dog owners with friendly pet sitters, so everyone wins. Seek out local parks to take your new canine pal to and indulge in some quality puppy time.
Postgraduate courses generally involve working for most of the week, so being employed while you study is not ideal. However, if you enjoy the feeling of being part of a team and don’t mind not being paid for it, volunteering can be a rewarding experience. Choose something that relates to your interests – for example, if you’re into vintage fashion, working in a charity shop will mean you’re the first to discover unwanted treasures. Likewise, music-obsessed postgrads may benefit from joining a band or record label’s street team to benefit from free gigs and concerts.
Related Reading: How to Improve Your CV During University
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