With summer now coming to a close, it’s time to return to school and work hard for the next nine months. It’s common to start thinking about next summer and what your plans will be. However, as the race for college continues those calendar days might be filled up with SAT prep courses, summer jobs, summer programs or even internships.
Rather than spend days resting after an exhausting school year, students continue to work. This provokes the question, what should be the role of summer vacation now that participating in summer programs or jobs have become the norm?
This change has occurred due to rising levels of competition, particularly in the Silicon Valley. As university acceptance rates decline, students now feel the need to do as many summer extracurriculars as possible to boost their college resume.
While participating in internships, getting a job or working volunteer programs will provide experience, students must not forget that summer is meant to be a time for relaxation and enjoyment after enduring a stressful year of school. During summer one should capitalize on the free time, especially because it can have health benefits. The University of Pittsburgh Mind-Body center reports that “Leisure, including vacations, contributed to more positive emotions and fewer negative feelings and depression.”
During the school year, we rarely ever have time for leisure, so summer is meant to make up for that lost time. This time should be used to create memories filled with joy, laughter and youthful mischief because as we get older and our lives begin to be filled with daily work, we lose out on time for leisure. Once students graduate, it becomes harder to see each other because of work commitments and the fact that students go to different colleges all around the country. Also, in college you will meet many more people and build more relationships, possibly losing the ones made in high school.
So when it gets to the point where your schedule becomes completely filled with internships, SAT prep courses, jobs and volunteer programs, then it’s probably time to take a break because you deserve it. However long could range, whether you think going on a vacation or spending a day in the comforts of your home. After all, wouldn’t you regret not going out with friends or planning a trip with your family?
Summer vacation will end before you know it, and once that bell rings on the first day of school, you might have missed a lot of opportunities to relax and have fun. At that point, it’ll be too late because the next nine months will be dedicated to schoolwork.
It’s completely fine to spend parts of your summer volunteering, getting an internship, taking a class, doing prep work or getting a job. Just make sure to save some space on your calendar for going out with friends, trips or even some Netflix binging. Even Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons from Harvard University believes that it is important for students to take a break.
“Bring summer back. Summer need not be totally consumed by highly structured programs, such as summer schools, travel programs, or athletic camps,” Fitzsimmons wrote in an article. “While such activities can be wonderful in many ways, they can also add to stress by assembling ‘super peers’ who set nearly impossible standards. Students need ample free time to reflect, to recreate, and to gather strength for the school year ahead.”