Summers on the farm back in the 1970’s when I was a teen are nothing like summers for teens these days. Modern day students must have at least a bit of their attention focused on the road ahead.
As a college planner, I encourage my clients to pursue an experience that will yield information careers that excite them and inspire a sense of satisfaction; something they can get their teeth into. Some of these students have known since they were five or six years old what they want to do. Others go off to college still looking for that elusive career that speaks to their passion. No matter where the student stands on their career choice, the formula is the same – go see and do, as much as possible, the things that interest you.
Over the years, I have learned that this advice means different things to different people. The image generated in the minds of some families is a six week course that offers college credit on an elite-level college campus, some latch onto the idea of getting a summer job, others envision the student shadowing professionals that do the jobs they like and still others believe a week-long camp committed to a specific major/career is the way to go. All of these are valid options but none of them are the “best” option for every student. Factors like affordability, time and family plans impact what the student is able to do over the course of the summer.
Finding an affordable and convenient summer activity that will make a meaningful difference in the life of a teen can be tricky. That is why January and February are designated as summer planning months. If somehow you missed that planning window, it’s never too late to do something meaningful. Your options will likely be scant, but a motivated individual can always find positive ways to spend their time.
If summer plans are set and ready to go, congratulations; if not, look to family, friends, co-workers and even Google for ideas. Coming late to the game may mean you will be added to a waiting list, but that’s the cost of coming late to the game. If that perfect activity eludes you, do some volunteering. Someone will always need help with something. Colleges don’t care how you spend your time as long as the things you do are positive and productive; so dedicate a little of your summer to planning for the future.