I wake up each morning and check my email before even getting out of bed. Did I get a response from one of those job applications yet? It's been months since my last job ended, and I've received no new offer yet. I thought graduating with honors, a little over a year of research experience at a zoo, a job in a national park, and an internship working with a critically endangered species would guarantee me my next job in no time. But it doesn't always work that way.
I'm sure many of you have experienced this, millennials probably more so than others. It's frustrating and disheartening to spend each day looking for and applying to jobs. But what can you do to make your time feel well used? If you're lucky enough to have gracious parents who allow you to live at home and don't push you to work at a McDonald's, then this guide may be of some use to you. Some of the following may even give you new items to add to your CV.
Create a Routine
Creating a routine guarantees that you won't sit around on the couch all day. I am amazing at coming up with daily schedules and new routines, but I'm not so great at following them. It takes determination to act as if I still have a job, only this time, my job is pretty much whatever I want to do with my time. Create a list of all the things you need and want to do. Prioritize the items that are more important than others. It's good to mix things up a bit, otherwise the days become monotonous. I use KanbanFlow, a tool to manage your time. Items always on my KanbanFlow include searching for and applying to jobs and scholarships. But it gets tiring to do only this each and every day, so I've come up with other things to do with my time. So what can you do with your days? Well, what do you want to do? Remember that many people would love to have as much free time as you do right now, so utilize it. You can't force a new job, so you might as well be productive in other ways.
Start a Blog
If you like to write, a blog is a good use of time. Almost any subject can be turned into a blog. Like to read? Write book reviews. Or maybe you just really want to tell the world about what's current in music. Whatever it is, you can write about it. The great thing about blogs is that you can attach it to your CV. If you're applying to jobs that have anything to do with writing, this is a great way to showcase your writing ability.
Learn Something New
I love being a student, and I miss walking out of a lecture hall with that feeling of learning something really cool. But who says universities are the only place you can learn? There are many online classes you can take which don't cost much or are actually entirely free! Udemy is an amazing website where people create online courses that anyone can enroll in. I've already taken a course on acrylic painting for $0. This website has incredible sales a few times a year, including around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some classes I've signed up for are Hebrew, a photography course, a data analysis course, and a course to improve memory and learn to speed read. Don't want to take a course? You can always teach one on Udemy.
Volunteer and Engage in the Community
Chances are, there is someone or something that needs help where ever you live. Many times, these people or organizations are happy to accept your time instead of your money. Look around on community websites to find something that you're interested in. This might take some digging on the internet or you may see a sign for an event or organization in your town. Check out their website and see what volunteer opportunities they offer. If you have an idea of how you can help but can't find any information about that online, send them an email! Organizations that need volunteers include pet shelters, political campaigns, environmental protection, women's shelters, and services for the homeless.
Try a New Hobby
You know what takes an excessive amount of time? Creating a quilt, knitting a scarf, and painting a picture. If you already have the supplies or live close to a Jo-Ann's where you can take advantage of their coupons, arts and crafts are an inexpensive way to pass time. If you're just starting out, these activities can take even longer. The good thing about these types of projects is it gives you something to work towards. Other hobbies to consider are baking or cooking, gardening, running or hiking, reading a new book series, or learning a new instrument. What ever it is, having something to do other than stare at a computer screen is pretty great.
I've heard people say they wish they had time to travel without the obligations of work, a family to support, or payments to keep up with. If you're in a situation where you have some money saved and you are able to travel, then do it! There aren't many times in your life where you can take a month or more to travel to somewhere new. If you really search for flights and accommodations, you can get away without spending too much. You could even combine travel with volunteering or an unpaid internship abroad. There are plenty of opportunities to teach English or volunteer with children or wildlife. Or maybe you just want to experience the freedom of traveling alone in a foreign country, seeing the sights, trying new foods, and hearing other languages. Whatever your reason, I highly recommend traveling.
One Last Note
There are so many ways to spend one's time other than just checking job board after job board. It's important to keep active and continue to use your time in a fulfilling way. If you're fortunate enough to be able to avoid working in retail and you have no rent or bills to pay, then thank your parents and use your time wisely. And if none of this inspires you to take control of your free time, there's always Netflix.