Students prepare to bounce off the couch into a productive summer


Grace Dorsey

For three months, students across America have time to themselves—three months where it’s up to them whether to binge-watch Netflix, relax by the pool or perhaps better their academic career.
“Doing something with your time is helpful for students. I think it’s a great opportunity to be getting enrichment activities, whether that’s pushing you further along with a career,” Dr. Samuel Martin, RBHS counselor, said. “Helping you prepare for college [by] doing something in your summertime is good.”
Back in 1830, schools in England would have a break from August to December, which was used to help families harvest the crop, according to an article on the history of the summer vacation by Rachael Stark. Today, the crop doesn’t rest on the shoulders of students, but other more important things do.
Working a summer job improves character and teaches important skills, according to a Global Post Article titled, “What are the effects of part time jobs on high school students?” They also may be more appealing because they don’t require an application months before the actual job begins. In addition, they earn money rather than paying hundreds of dollars to participate in a summer activity.
Senior Kylie Marsh, who worked at Boyce & Bynum pathology labs, experienced the benefits of working in the summer, as well as the benefits from relaxing and just enjoying being young.
“I got up early, which helped me keep that schedule going for the year,” Marsh said. “It also helped me with responsibility, of course, and time management.”
Getting fit this summer is another way to stay productive that’s less academically inclined. According to an article on how exercise affects work productivity by Julie Boehlke, working out can help keep up with a schedule as well as improve mental health and alertness. Students can set a goal of jogging around the block or join a summer sport.
Freshman Taylor Lewis says school softball practices keep her busy and fit throughout summer for optimal skill level come fall.
“Playing sports in the summer encourages good behavior,” Lewis said “by keeping teens such as ourselves from engaging in obscene conduct while also keeping us healthy.”
While exercise might serve students’ health, in the long run it’s important not to forget about the future of their academic life.
A top priority for juniors this summer who are planning to go to college should be visiting campuses.
While a website may have a ton of information, questions are best answered on site according to “Why visit Colleges?” an article on big future college board by Zola Dincin Schneider.
Researching majors and discussing career choices with someone who has a job in that field is a good way for students to determine what their interests are. Martin has helped navigate college for countless students and knows what important summertime activities can help with brightening the future.
“If there’s any way that you could get on a different college campus or as many different college campuses as possible I think that’s always productive,” Martin said. “I’m actually surprised how many students live in Columbia but have never toured Mizzou.”
Still, visiting colleges that are unattainable won’t do much good. Studying for standardized tests to impress possible schools is another productive, life-after-highschool based activity, according to an article on SAT prep in the summer by DeAnna Rivera.
Tracey Singer might only be a freshman but she’s already thinking about wowing admissions officers with her standardized test scores.
“During the summer it’s a good chance to get caught up on everything else that’s not part of the regular school curriculum,” Singer said. “Like if you have an ACT coming up or something that’d be a good time to study for all those standardized tests.”
While staying organized during the school year may fall away from students’ focus, in summer there’s a lot more time to de-clutter and systemize. This productive activity’s advantages can be increased when used along with planning and jobs as it saves time, energy and encourages concentration.
Organizing can take many forms — from cleaning to keeping up with a daily to-do list. Donating old clothes or having a garage sale is better for a neater environment while keeping up with lists and calendar is best for an orderly mind. Freshman Ruth Wu is definitely intending to keep the advantages of maintaining her organization during the summer and throughout life.
“It’s hard for me not to be organized anymore,” Wu said. “I like to write a lot of checklists, not necessarily so I can check them off because I know some people just really like checking things off their list but mostly so I need to write them down to remember them. So I write a lot of lists, I definitely use my agenda and calendar.”
Specialty summer camps also fall into the category of productive summertime recreation and can come in a wide array of themes.
Although it might be too late to join more intense programs. Missouri University of Science and Technology is hosting a number of environment based camps aimed at high school students and the registration deadlines are in June (rather than February).
However, if students aren’t interested in paying upwards of $400, they could always create a small neighborhood camp for younger neighbors based on their skill set such as an art or basketball camp, and they could even charge a few dollars for it.
Freshman Aidan Bachrach is going to Alpaca Camp this summer for the last time. Over the last two summers the camp has taught him how to lead, feed and clean up after alpacas as well made him realize how much care an animal needs.
He even has made a wall decoration and rug made out of actual alpaca wool. Even if he can’t go back because of the age limit, he says he’ll still have fun with his friends throughout the five day program.
“I’m going to some camps [this summer],” Bachrach said, “like Alpaca camp which is where you make stuff from alpaca materials like rugs and stuff.”
Another summer activity for students is just to continue to educate themselves. While learning may seem dull at times, students can cater to their particular style.
Bookworms can take regular visits to the library or even download novels on iBooks or Kindle. Movie lovers can watch the array of documentaries on Netflix. History buffs can check out museums in the area. Podcasts on interesting topics are available on Apple products for more auditory inclined students and are great to listen to on bike rides or runs.
Continuing to simulate the brain throughout the year is beneficial because students are less likely to experience learning losses, according to the National Summer Learning Association. Freshman Emma Pierce has procured knowledge from educational trips in summers past, and knows what help they can be.
“Once my family and I went around the country and visited historical sites,” Pierce said, “then I could make connections when I was in social studies because I’d been there and seen what it looked like — all these museums and things.”
But why just help themselves when students can help others. Volunteering has been a part of the American tradition for decades and dates back to WW1. Getting experience and working with people can lift students’ spirits while also getting another point to put on college applications. Martin has also assisted students in students figuring out careers from spending time volunteering in the field.
“Figuring out ways you can volunteer, so there’s websites you can go to for volunteer opportunities— that would be another good enrichment activity,” Martin said.”So if you had something you are interested in like I have so many students that are like ‘I love animals, I want to be a vet’ they actually volunteer at a veterinary hospital. Or I have students who are like “Man we really want to do construction and work with our hands” habitat for humanity has something. There are lots of different places you can go to volunteer.”
However, if students are using the break for relaxation rather than keeping active, rest is valuable in terms of physical and mental health, according to the Mental Health America website.
Bachrach has experienced the benefits for himself and says it really does make a difference in mood and energy levels.
“It’s also important to get sleep in the summer,” Bachrach said. “You need to be rested during the day so that you can achieve your goals during the summer.”

By Grace Dorsey

Art by Joy Park