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Summertime Fun and Gains

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

When school gets out, it's the time to learn something new, make extra money, and relax.

 

The unconventional school year that we thought might take place completely at home is almost over! If you’re anything like me, you feel like just yesterday we returned to campus to see warm, friendly faces we hadn’t seen since the start of the pandemic! However, after returning to something closer to normal life, we face a new challenge: deciding how to make the most of our summer breaks! Ms. Porto has sent out lists of academic opportunities, including numerous course options that can be used as credit for a class. However, many of my peers and I want our summer to include activities that we may not get to experience as fully in the school year. We are looking for a balance between relaxation and fun, a combination of pure joy and something that could improve our lives, and a mix of responsibilities and “whatever, it’s summer!”. Luckily, there are myriad summer opportunities to choose from, including many in the Greater New Haven area.


Get a Job

One option is to get a job! Summer jobs are a great way to gain work experience. During the school year, many of us don’t have the time to hold a weekly job, but in the summer, we have a wealth of time. Certain businesses are open during only the summer, such as ice cream parlors and swimming pools. By obtaining a summer job, you have a chance to meet new people and learn about the obligations and responsibilities that come with holding a job. Furthermore, colleges view applicants with jobs as much more appealing. So, a job is literally something that can boost your college application! Unfortunately, you have to be at least sixteen years old to be legally hired in Connecticut. However, there are other types of jobs, such as yard work (mowing grass, gardening, etc.), babysitting, and pet care that you can do by yourself or with friends by organizing employment with neighbors (this would obviously mean you would not have to be sixteen).


Camps

If a summer job is just not for you, don’t despair! There are other options. For example, camps! Certain camps are open for teenagers, not just younger kids. If you search up “camps for teenagers”, many lists will pop up. One of these lists is on teensummercamps.com, which includes camps like Emagination Computer Camps in CT and thousands of other camps in other states and sometimes even other countries. Certain opportunities involving nature exist only in the summer. These include outdoor programs like Outward Bound, NOLS, and others. These programs have many variations, including backpacking across beautiful mountainous terrain, whitewater rafting down cobalt rivers, and sailing in the warm, sunny Caribbean. NOLS also focuses on leadership while involving the environment. If you have an interest in or passion for nature, these programs would be phenomenal experiences for you! Mr. Sokoloff took part in NOLS, and partially credits his wilderness experiences in the program with his increased confidence and success. If you have any questions about signing up for the program, he would be a great source of information.

A NOLS backpacking trip

Train to be a Counselor

Many high schoolers feel that they are too old for camp or just can’t find any open camper slots. This points out the option of being a counselor-in-training (CIT). Being a CIT is a great way to experience the responsibility and control of being a counselor without having the complete workload or stress that counselors deal with. It is a popular middle ground for many high schoolers who are looking for that balance between being relaxed and busy. Also, certain camps require you to be a CIT before becoming a counselor, so if you want to be paid to lead a group of kids at summer camp, you may want to become a CIT!


College Programs

Numerous programs for high school students funded by colleges are available year-round, but especially during the summer. Yale University, Southern Connecticut State University, UCONN, Wesleyan University, and other nearby colleges hold many programs. Yale is privileged with one of the most prestigious campuses in the world, and they open their programs up to high schoolers. Certain activities at Yale include STEM programs, writing workshops, and cultural presentations. I’ve taken part in many of these programs, mostly the science-based ones (but also some humanities workshops). Through Yale programs, I’ve learned about numerous topics I previously had no clue about, whether it be biomedical engineering, unthinkably large numbers (bigger than googolplex!), the chemistry involved in cooking, or improv! These are just a few of the many, many topics a Yale program can focus on. Without having participated in these programs, I never would have heard about a number of areas of knowledge that now interest me. I strongly recommend signing up for as many programs as you can!

The Yale University campus.

Learn Something New

Finally, the last summer opportunity advice that I have is to just learn something new! If you struggle at something and want to improve, the summer is the perfect time to do so. If you want to learn a new language, online sites exist, such as Duolingo (which is entirely free). You can also learn a new instrument or sport. The summer is also the perfect time to improve your writing and visual art skills; the beautiful outdoors could inspire you to write a poem or explore other types of writing, or you could sketch a magnificent view of East Rock. Essentially, if you are not looking to commit to a program over the summer, you should at least try to commit to an area of self-improvement.


Final Thoughts

The pandemic still makes many options unavailable. However, certain programs are taking place, just with specific protocols. The bottom line is that summer is fast approaching, so get out there and start setting summer plans in motion: ask around for a job, send in applications for camps or programs, or ask yourself what it is that you want to improve about yourself over the summer. Whatever it is, as the ads tell you, “just do it!” Summer is going to be here faster than you think!



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