School is out and many times high school students struggle to find things to do with their time. I know that after such a long school year with tough academic classes, sports, extracurricular activities, and whole bunch of other responsibilities, it’s tempting to just veg out on the couch and watch Gossip Girl, Degreassi, and OchoCinco: The Ultimate Catch reruns for 14 hours a day. You could easily become a Facebook addict and surf your friends’ profile pages for 14 hours each day. (I know, I feel like this sometimes too.) But don’t fall victim to the TV or FB this summer! You can resist. You have many more options of things to do with your time than you realize!
One of the things that I have learned about MIT students is that (generally speaking) they are good stewards of their time. Students here work hard and play hard. During the year, they certainly get their fare share of study time, but they also do everything from taking cool photos to attempting to break the world record for mattress dominoes. The same philosophy holds true during the summertime as well. Over the summer, MIT students do a whole host of interesting things with their time. (You don’t need links to find out what types of cool things students are doing, just go back and check out some of the recent blog posts.) But they didn’t start making good use of their summer months when they came to MIT, it started way back in high school.
So here are a few suggestions of things that you could do with your time this summer. From me to you. Why? Because I care.
1. A Summer Program – Summer Programs are a great way to make good use of your time. You can investigate an interest, develop a new skill, or learn about different careers. Students always have a really great time meeting new people and doing exciting projects with other motivated kids. Here are a few that I know about; RSI , WTP , MITES , Duke TIP , The Bridge Program, John’s Hopkins Center for Talented Youth , and many, many more…..
And don’t underestimate the importance of being away from home and on your own for a few weeks. It’s a good thing to know that you can take care of yourself in a new environment without Mom and Dad around to solve every challenge that may come up. You can do it! Go ahead and fly little birdie!
2. Travel (Locally or not so locally) – In today’s world of work, you will probably not have just one job in the same location for 35 or 40 years. It is more likely that you will have a bunch of different types of jobs in a variety of places. You will certainly have the choice of working in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, or San Francisco. But if you have the skills to pay the bills, you will also be able to have international options like London, Mumbai, or Shanghai. Getting a chance to see what different places have to offer can open your mind to new opportunities (and it plants the seed for study abroad)!
3. College Road Trip! – Summertime is a great time to visit colleges. You can go to information sessions, tour the campus, and even though most students will not be on campus, you can still get a general feel for what the place might be like when it is fully occupied. Start with campuses that are close to you and then venture further out. Visiting colleges over the summer is a smart move.
4. Get a Summer Job– Camp counselor, grocery bagger, retail, restaurants, lifeguard….It really doesn’t matter the nature of the job, as long as you get a chance to begin learning what it means to have the responsibility of having people depend on you in a professional setting. It’s also nice to learn what it means to earn your own money.
5. Get an internship! – You aren’t going to be a high school student forever! One day you too will have the joy of paying bills, taxes, and have a mortgage (this is sarcasm). In order to do these things you will have a job. With luck, it will be a job that you enjoy. Start now and get a sneak peak into what an engineer (or any other profession of interest for you) does on a daily basis. If there is an official internship program where you get paid, GREAT!!!! If not, don’t be afraid to do an internship for free. The experience that you get is well worth the investment of your time even if you aren’t getting paid.
6. Take a class– I know, I know…. Just hear me out. Just because the school year has ended, doesn’t mean that learning has to stop! Summertime is a great time for you to take a class in something that you have been interested, but may not have had the actual time during the school year. It’s also a time to take a class to get ahead for the upcoming school year. Your local community college is a great place to find fun classes. But if cash is a little short or you don’t have transportation to the community college, there is always OCW!
7. Join your library’s book club – Over the summer, your local librarian should be your new BFF. Reading is a great way to learn about the world, while learning about yourself. AND you can read one of my favorite books of all time, The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, by MIT’s own Junot Diaz.
8. Write a letter (and mail it!!!) – In this day and age of instant messaging, texts, e-mails, and cell phones, the art of writing a letter has been virtually abandoned. Go ahead and test your penmanship out. If you’re lucky, you may even receive a response back. When you’re in college it’s always nice to get a letter from home reminding you that people are thinking about you. Sometimes the letters even have pizza money enclosed ;-)
So what are YOU doing with your time this year? (Aside from reading the MIT blogs.) Let me know in the comments.