Published: February 2015
By Shauli Bar-On
Upon finishing a school year, students are excited to have eleven weeks of freedom. These weeks can be lengthy and boring, or a productive and positive experience. It all depends on how they are managed.
There are a variety of activities open to high school students over the summer: finding an internship, volunteering, working, or studying a subject of interest.
The most meaningful experiences are tailored to one’s interests. I, for example, enjoy playing sports. Last summer, I worked at a sports camps and was assigned to work with elementary school kids. I would highly recommend working with children over the summer.
In addition to being fun, this type of work teaches responsibility and patience as young children are unpredictable and counselors must be ready for anything. The best part about working at a camp is the connection you make with the campers. If you truly did your job, your campers will never forget you and your eyes will water when it is time to say goodbye. Working at a summer camp is definitely an unforgettable experience.
Volunteering over the summer is a great way to give back to the community. Volunteering can be done locally at community centers and camps, or on the international scale out of the country. There are many programs where high schoolers can sign up to volunteer for a select number of weeks. Volunteering activities range from planting trees to building shelters and are customizable based on interest.
I participated in a program called the “African Library Project”. This program is student run and allows students to take on leadership roles and organize a book drive. The goal is to collect 1,000 books and $500 and then ship them to Africa. These books are later used to create a library in a certain region within Africa.
Working with similar programs is an essential part of any student’s life. Every student should find some way to volunteer before enrolling in college, and I would highly recommend doing so over the summer when students have more free time.
Since high school classes are not customizable, studying over the summer is a fantastic option for students. Many of these classes require an application and an essay. This small amount of work is worth the professional courses where students can learn about what they love. I took classes at local universities such as Stanford and would encourage everyone to do something similar.
These university classes are generally live-in and allow students to experience college dorms, college life, and provide opportunities to survey potential university campuses.
School may not be in session, but that does not mean high schoolers should stop working and enriching themselves. Summer is a time for students to do what they love. Summertime can and should be altered based on what students enjoy doing. The summer is a long break, but time will fly when managed correctly to appeal to individual students.