Sun, fun and studying can all mix over the summer. (Honor Fuchs)
Sun, fun and studying can all mix over the summer.

Honor Fuchs

Eight cool plans for summer on a budget

May 29, 2017

With summer approaching, there is mounting excitement in the halls. Students can’t wait to put away their textbooks and take our their sunglasses. Summer means freedom, no classes and no worries — but this open book can also lead to boredom. Worried parents can end spending large sums of money to entertain you and keep you from wasting away your summer days.

Or you can take charge yourself. Here are eight productive and budget-friendly ways to spend your summer.

1. For the Niche Teenager

Some students have one true love, be it video games or music, and all they want to do this summer is immerse in their passion. This is understandable, and it’s a good idea, too.

Moreover, it is unbelievably easy to make such passions productive, with little to no extra cost: all you have to do is create something. Love writing? Write a series of stories. Love watching movies? Create a blog reviewing the movies you watch.

These projects can become a major part of your life year-round, and regardless of how successful they turn out to be, the pride of building something you care about will last.

2. For the Goal-Oriented

Are you someone who seems to always be pushing off your objectives during the busy school year? It’s okay — extracurriculars and classes take up an exorbitant amount of time — but now it’s summer!

Do what you can to reach your goals. Train for a triathlon, or teach yourself how to sew. Read a book a day or become an animal rights activist. Whatever it is that you want to be a part of your identity, make it a habit and make it you while school is out.

3. For the Camp Lover

Many teenagers spend summer after summer making s’more’s and lifelong friends. If you have graduated from camp or cannot afford to attend this year, share your love for camp by working for one! Not only will you earn money, but you’ll have some of the same experiences that were so dear to when you attended camp.

Many camps have junior counselor positions or other positions, and a few may still have openings for this summer. Giving back to the next generation of camp-goers feels good not just in your wallet but in your heart.

4. For the Giver
Some people have giving in their DNA, and there is no better way to express this disposition than by working for a charity. With organizations for the homeless, war veterans, the sick and many more, there is a charity for every interest and a way to open your heart this summer.

Not only will you rack up chesed hours for school, but you can fulfill a halachic obligation as well. As it says in Devarim 15: 7-8: “If, however, there is a needy person among you…do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kinsman. Rather you must open your hand and lend him sufficient for whatever he needs.” A summer of charity is fulfilling and enlightening and helps heal the world.

5. For the College Stresser

Everyone can feel a little burnt out after a full year of hard school work, but if you would like your next year to be sizably less stressful, do not put away your textbooks so quickly.

If you struggle with a certain subject, see if you can prepare in an advance for the parts that you will find most difficult next year. You might even be able to take a class during the summer if you feel you need the time to be devoted to it. Start by discussing this with the administration and Educational Support. They are very understanding and will work with you to ensure that your summer can be used effectively.

For incoming juniors, there is no better way to beat your stress than by studying for the ACT or SAT during summer, especially if you are in a higher math class. If you study productively over this summer you’ll be ready to take these standardized tests early on in the year instead of mid-finals and AP testing. This eases the stress of junior year considerably. If you haven’t yet learned the math that you’ll need then it can be harder to prepare early but it will not hurt you to start. All you have to do is purchase a few prep books and get started.

I know you’ve heard it before, but it’s true: Incoming seniors, start making your list of colleges and writing your college app essays. This is advice straight from the panel of admission directors that came to talk to the junior class. Writing your essays in advance will lessen the frantic nature of college applications. It will also give you time to think harder about what you want to say. The prompts for most colleges will be posted sometime in the summer.

6. For the Stay-cation-er

We live in a city full of tourists, famous across the world for its history and entertainment. Why not explore L.A.?

From museums to the beach to the Hollywood sign, there are many ways to explore our vast city through the eyes of a tourist. Spend a day in Little Tokyo or at the Homer Laughlin Building. Take a celebrity tour bus and learn about our city’s past, or see an outdoor movie at the park.

See the city in a new light and best of all, sleep in your bed at the end of the day. With coupons and deals online you can plan any trip at a budget-friendly cost, and plenty of places — including Disneyland and Warner Brothers Studio Tours – have discounts for California residents. A summer of stay-cation-ing is also awesome because you can visit your favorite discoveries over and over again during the year.

7. For the Ladder-climber

Are you a person who knows exactly what they want and want to know how to get there quicker? Internships are a standard but useful way to spend the summer. Not only can an interning experience look great on a resume, but internships can really shape your understanding of a field that you might be interested in. Many professionals and organizations want interns and they can really teach you everything you need to know about your path towards success.

There is no better person to learn from than a professional and the connections you can make can take you far into the future. In addition, a lot of programs use multiple interns who you can become friends with. It may be a little late to apply, but it’s worth a try.

There is no better person to learn from than a professional and the connections you can make can last a lifetime. In addition, a lot of programs use multiple interns who you can become friends with.

8. For the Old-fashioned

The tried and true summer experience: a job! Work this summer and come away with more money than what you started with, as well as lessons from the experience.

Although most jobs are 18 and older, there are more than you would think for younger teens. You might even have a family friend who would be willing to hire someone your age.

Try to find a job that relates to your interests, but even if that is not possible, working is very rewarding and you will learn a lot about yourself and the workplace. There are jobs for everyone — even jobs from home — and if you have a specific skill, find a job that will let you perfect it.

Hopefully, this will help you choose what to do this summer, even if you don’t have much to spend. Mix and match these ideas and you can even use them for down time between other summer plans — with their low price there is no harm done. Bonus: they all look great on college applications.

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