While it is January, thinking ahead is always a good thing. While summer is a time to unwind and relax, it generally speaking is not a time to twiddle your thumbs for eight weeks. It is also a time to do something that is worth YOUR while. In other words, it means that it is something you want to do, rather than something that ‘might look good’ on a university application.
Think about something you would like to accomplish- beefing up your language skills, outdoor skills, perhaps earning money, learning a new skill. It may be that you already have an obligation or responsibility to participate in- and that is perfectly fine.
Some students who are involved in the arts may wish to enhance their portfolios and hope to work on their portfolios or skills as an artist.
One of my favorite things happens to be camp. I went to camp for years – as a camper and as a counselor. While a high school student, I was a ‘Counselor in Training’, better known as a CIT. This offered a tremendous opportunity to learn leadership skills while perhaps learning new skills as a camper. It allowed me to take leadership in caretaking of younger campers, teaching outdoor skills, canoeing, camping, and other areas and activities I excelled in at camp. It served me well in the future. Ask anyone who went to camp and they will tell you that it made them into an independent person willing to take appropriate risks.
Other options of course- the sky’s the limit: many travel options are available that involve cost, local options at perhaps some private schools offering summer tech camps (be aware that the private schools may be renting their property to an independent contractor- it doesn’t make the experience any less enriching, but just know who is running the program),
What is new in the past few years that we did not have before COVID?
Online coursework is what is new. This is wonderful for those who might have to work, or who have obligations and wish to enhance their curiosity. There are language opportunities, tech opportunities, fashion design courses just to name a few.
To Spend Money or Not to Spend Money
While some people spend a lot of money on programs that they think will enhance their applications, I think there may be something quite meaningful in your own big backyard. Look around your community and see what is offered in your town or city, then perhaps branch out. Take a look at your community center, maybe there is a job to be had at the recreation center, or local coffee shop.
Create Your Own Summer
One student I am working with has her own little business- she has been babysitting for many years. She is figuring out what her worth is as a sitter, and is learning how to tell her customer base that it is time for a raise. She is learning as she goes.
Maybe it is time for a ‘mental tech reset’ and a time in nature without technology would be a great way to spend a few weeks. There are many summer programs where this can happen.
Of course, many participate in Summer School whether it is necessary or not. Some participate because they would like to graduate early, others out of regaining their credits after a dicey semester.
Whatever you participate in, think about how you will grow and how it will enhance your life. It’s okay to leave your comfort zone, that is important for growth. Because, in the end, when learning something outside your comfort zone, eventually, it becomes your comfort zone.
The bottom line… What did you get out of the experience, and honestly, not every experience will be perfect, but you will learn something from it.