“And with a pen and pad I compose this rhyme
To hit you and get you equipped for the summer time
Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind.”
Lyrics from DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince “Summertime”
There is some truth behind DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and their thoughts around how we should spend our summer days and nights during high school….and then reality hits that it is not 1991 and kids today don’t spend their summers cruising in their cars without a care in the world. Perhaps we should encourage our kids to have a better balance in their summer. While summer can be a time to pursue interests and passions, it should also be a time to regroup and refresh to get geared up for the upcoming school year.
Here are some Summer Strategies for whether you are just about to enter into your high school career, have just graduated, or are somewhere in between, all in the pursuit of a well-balanced summer. While we have identified some strategies that are grade level specific in the chart below, there are several which are applicable to everyone.
Almost everyone has some type of summer reading and assignment to complete prior to the start of school. While it is tempting to put it off as long as possible, like say to the night before school starts, it really isn’t a great idea as the chances of Amazon Prime being able get it to you in a matter of hours is highly unlikely. Go ahead and take a few minutes to jump on your school’s website to identify which books are required for this summer and go ahead and order them. The entire process should take less than 15 minutes and will save you from unnecessary stress and your parent’s unnecessary grey hair. Plan out when it will be best for you to tackle the reading and assignment-this will require looking at a calendar. You may choose to knock it out in a few days in between trips, or you may choose to spread it out-the choice is yours, so make a plan and commit to it!
Everyone should do some type of volunteering over the summer months-it can be a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks, as the opportunities to give back are endless. While some non-profits have age requirements, there are many that will happily accept help of all ages. Most importantly, volunteering should be authentic to whom the student is: Do you like to play tennis? Maybe consider coaching at a neighborhood tennis clinic and work to instill a love of the game to the younger crowd. Love to read? Volunteer at the library or host your own book drive to donate the books to a local children’s hospital or school.
In your travels this summer, find a college or two that are on the way to or from your destination or even in the city where you are visiting. It doesn’t need to be a school that is at the top of your list, or even on your list, as most any school will give you the opportunity to start developing what it is that you hope to have (or not have!) in your college experience. It can be as casual as driving through the campus and surrounding area, or a more formal tour and information session which lasts about two hours. If your schedule allows, the tour and information session is the way to go, and these are typically offered numerous times on the weekdays, and some Saturdays as well.
While there is so much focus on using your summer to advance your cause, whatever that is, remember to spend some quality time (ummm, perhaps without technology?!?!) with your friends and family enjoying the fun and freedom that should come with summer!
Garrett Educational Consulting, LLC is a full-service, academic consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina. With over twenty years experience in education and counseling, Katie Garrett guides and supports students and families that are navigating important academic decisions. Services include all aspects of academic advising, comprehensive college planning, independent day school consulting, and boarding school application guidance.
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