News + Issues

Frugal fun ways to unwind and redefine your off time


Dental school can take up a lot of our time – more time than we think we have. Juggling tests, lab work, clinic rotations, and of course, studying, life can get really crazy, really fast. Just as we are encouraged to dedicate time to our studies and ensuring we give quality care to our patients, we, too, should dedicate time to our selves and ensure we take quality care of our wellbeing. Inspired by “100 cheap hobbies,” I’ve come up with my own list of cheap, fun, and creative ideas that you can do during study breaks, or on the weekends with your friends. They require little to no money, which is always a plus for dental students. Let’s get it rollin’!


Rockin’ it Solo

–       Look up exotic trip destinations you would like to go to and imagine yourself there. We always talk about international getaways we want to take at some point in our lives. Whether it’s spending a week in a private villa overlooking the lush landscape of Bali, Indonesia, snorkeling the crystal clear waters in the Polynesia’s, or riding a gondola through the artistic and architecturally astounding city of Venice, Italy, world travel can surely take you away from your current daily life. But in the mean time, surf the web, find your dream vacation destination, and drift away during a study break to the vacation of your dreams!

–       Write in a journal for 15 minutes. A religious leader told me, “If our ancestors never wrote anything down, we wouldn’t have a history to read.” If you haven’t written in a journal, start today! Write down thoughts, impressions, experiences, and memories of your day, so that your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and others can read of the history you left for them.

–       Build your dream dental office or dream home – browse Pinterest. It’s always good to have a goal to work towards. Inspiration to help achieve those goals makes it that much more rewarding. Pinterest has a smorgasbord of ideas, pictures, and plans you can “pin” to your board for future reference. Create a board and name it “My Ideal Practice” or “My Sick Pad” and “pin” the photos of things you want to have in your office, or want your office or home to look like.

–       Write a letter to a family member or friend. There’s still something special about receiving hand written mail. I can guarantee the recipient of your letter will be surprised you wrote them a letter. It will also give you an opportunity to see how well your penmanship is. Stamps cost $0.49 now and can be picked up from your local post office or some grocery stores.


Hanging with the crew

–       Set up a themed game night for you and your friends. Just like the good ol’ days, a night in can become the best night ever! Change it up and create a themed party. You can have a Black Tie Affair theme, an 80’s theme, or pajama party theme. Make it a trendy party for worthy Instagram and Facebook posts. Bring out the board games, cards, or dominos and most importantly, your A-game. 

–       Antique Store Shopping Challenge. This is a game I played with some friends during our double dates. Visit a local antique store or thrift shop. The object of the challenge is to find an item for someone else in the group worth $5 or less. It can be something funny, something sentimental, or something just totally random. Here’s the kicker – the person receiving the item must display it in his or her apartment or home for everyone to see! This is a great way to explore your local community, and improve your gift-searching skills on a budget.

–       $5 Dinner Special. This is a fun date idea or with a group of friends. Each person spends $5 on anything in the grocery store to make a dish that will feed the group. Make breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a dessert. You’d be surprised how far $5 can go. Gourmet doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Get creative and let your culinary skills shine!

–       Go people watching. Cheap, worthwhile, and makes for great conversation starters and stories to remember. Find a high traffic area along a boulevard, outside a coffee shop, or at a park, and just sit and watch. This activity takes little effort, and definitely has a great return on investment of your time. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses!


These are only a few ideas for you to try out when taking breaks from studying or relaxing after a long week of school. Create your own low-budget activities. Get creative, have fun, and make memories, whether it’s by yourself or with friends.

Leave some of your creative study break or weekend activity ideas in the comments below for others to try out!

~ Jay Banez, Marquette ’16, electronic editor

Jay Banez

Jay Banez is one of ASDA's electronic editors. Originally from Las Vegas, Jay is a D4 at Marquette School of Dentistry. Jay is also the Media & Communications Chair for #MarquetteASDA. You can catch him walking around school occasionally with his camera in hand, posting to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. These efforts helped lead Marquette to its Ideal ASDA Chapter title at the 2014 Gold Crown Awards.

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