A time to detox for sake of self
While sharing and reminiscing during the first weeks of school, students usually remember either how fun their summer was or if it helped their college resumes. While there are many variations of programs or summer plans, they usually fall into either one of these two categories.
Participating in activities, programs, internships or classes for college are great things to do — but only if they’re during the school year. Summer is meant for going to camp as staff or a camper, spending time with friends or family, and going to the beach or otherwise relaxing— not for building a college resume.
It’s a time to make memories and grow, religiously and personally. It’s a time to deepen close friendships or create new ones. This can only be done without the pressure of college constantly on students’ minds, which will inevitably be the case
when the intention behind participating in something is to improve that application.
More than that, summer is a time to just be different.
From late August to mid-June, students are consumed with work. Homework, extra-curriculars, SATs and college prep take many hours beyond the school day, leaving dedicated students with little time for family, socializing and Netflix. And when students do find time to do these things, they sacrifice their sleep.
So during the year, you have exhausted students who are spread way too thin for their own good.
Summer should be the time where students detox, and detox means engaging in a behavior that some high school students forget exists: fun. Fun comes in all shapes and sizes: camp, family vacations, Israel programs, or even internships if it’s in a field that interests you. Summer is the time when you can experience variety in activities, people you’re around and the places you go.
It’s is the time when you rejuvenate yourself so you come back strong for the taxing school year — and hopefully have become a better, more balanced and complete person.
Colleges love when students have accomplished many things, and getting an internship or doing a leadership fellowship might look great on an application. But it will never guarantee a specific outcome in terms of college admission anyway. So why give up all the benefits of doing something completely college-neutral?
Instead, take the summer to develop interests you don’t get to foster during the school year. Enjoy the free time when you can. Summer is fleeting and the pressures of the school year will explode over you before you’re ready for them.
If you don’t let yourself have fun during the summer, you’re going to be burnt out during the year. And when you get to college, you might not know who you are.
The point is, no matter what you do during the summer, it should be for a l’shma purpose. It should be for the sake of itself and nothing else.
Build a foundation for your future
Students’ school years are often overflowing with overwhelming assignments, constant stress, and an endless amount of obligations. As summer approaches each year, people feel the need to take a well deserved break from any form of intensive work.
Time off is important, yet summer is the only time to utilize all possible resources outside the classroom. With college ever-present on students’ minds, we should use summer to our advantage, to build a strong foundation for application time.
Whether that be through attending programs such as seminars, college prep classes, interning at organizations or companies, or even working a job, much of what teens hope to accomplish before they set off into the “real world” of college can be done over the summer with no disruption.
While school is a place to learn and discover hobbies, summer break is the time to hone in on your passions through these programs. This is especially true when you participate with others who have the same ambitions. Similarly, building your resume over the summer prepares you better not only for the year ahead, but for life. It enables you to think critically and expand your social life.
I experienced this through the prelaw program that I attended this past summer. It has provided me with a strong foundation in a possible career, is an incredible resume booster, has connected me to people and was a ton of fun.
So much of our resume building during the year is limited to the Jewish community. This summer, I was the only Jewish girl in my journalism class in New York. This gave me a lot of perspective as I became aware of the world outside of the Shalhevet “bubble” and more appreciative of my community.
If not for this program, entering a college campus in the future would have been a complete culture shock.
This way, I was exposed to other cultures, religions, and beliefs, all while learning and growing before college.
“But what about relaxing and just having fun? Aren’t we supposed to simply relax over the summer?” teenagers often say.
And taking a break is important.
At the same time, most programs aren’t all eight weeks of summer, leaving time for you to relax and hang out with your family, while still fortifying your resume for your future.
That’s the beauty of summer: an open schedule. When else can we learn outside the classroom?
We use any free time during the school year to relax, or attempt to catch up on sleep. Instead of sleeping all day, hidden under your blanket bingeing Netflix shows all night, teens should take this time to explore their interests, meet new people or volunteer.
Next summer, soak up all opportunities, step outside your comfort zone, and continue to utilize your potential with the time you have. You never know how it will benefit you later.