Imagine you’re standing on soft, warm sand and the the cool ocean waters gently massaging your feet. The intense heat radiating from the sun is beating against your skin. From the distance, children are talking, laughing, and playing. They’re calling you to join them…
This sounds like the perfect way to spend summer, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, many high school students spend their summer at academies, studying incessantly for standardized tests or preparing for the next school year. But this may not be the best way to spend the time between school years. Though many students are resigned to the notion they must sacrifice their summer to become academically successful, it’s important to balance your summer
The school year is intense, with stress from exams, pressure from parents, and no spare time. According to an NBC News study, high school students are even more stressed-out than adults, while a 2014 study led by Dr. Charles E. Basch found that virtually all high school students are sleep deprived. Overall, by the end of the academic year, students are both physically and mentally exhausted.
The summer offers students an opportunity to mentally and physically recuperate before returning to school.
Gail Fair, a history teacher at the Academy of the Holy Angels, told JSR, “I hope that students get some leisure time and do something fun [over summer] that there isn’t time for during the school year. Some might love traveling and doing what they love or others might find a new hobby and spend time with friends.”
While studying is a necessary part of a student’s regimen, there are things people cannot learn from books alone. Traveling during the summer offers a unique opportunities to learn.
Incoming Carnegie Mellon freshman Jiwon Ban told JSR, “Last summer I traveled to California alone and I really learned a lot, matured, and had a lot of time to reflect about responsibilities, my future, [and more]. I would recommend… taking some time out this summer.”
Nancy Schneberger, an English teacher at the Academy of the Holy Angels said: “Plan your summer before it begins, so you can have time for everything. A fulfilling summer should definitely include some travel and a chance to do something new, challenging and fun!”
Seeing new things and meeting people gently encourage a person to experience life to the fullest. Traveling can broaden our horizons, helping us perceive from global perspective. Some students even volunteer in a new country, doing humanitarian work while also being exposed to new experiences.
According to Schneberger, “I think these are all good ways to spend the summer, because they help students to broaden their worldview and to grow in their knowledge, talents, and perspective.”
Seoyeon Park, a rising junior at Northern Valley Demarest High School, will be spending this summer doing something new.
“So far I’ve been spending all my summers at hagwon, and I regret it,” Park told JSR. “I’m planning on going to Guatemala for a service trip this summer, and I know that this will be an experience that I will never forget!”