Use time during summer to full advantage

Break an opportunity to get ahead for college

Lauren Mitchell

More stories from Lauren Mitchell

For most, the 3:30 bell on May 19 will mark the beginning of the ultimate season for Netflix binge-watching, lazy days by the pool, and carefree road trips with friends. After a seemingly never ending fourth quarter packed full of activities and important finals, ACTs and AP exams, the laid back nature of summer comes as much needed relief. And while summer is and should be a time for students to relax with friends and regroup from the school year, it can also be the perfect time to take advantage of unique opportunities that will strengthen resumes and help meet long term goals.

Upperclassmen can testify to the fact that scholarship and college applications only add stress to the already challenging coursework of the last two years of high school. The situation is magnified if, come to find out, a resume is emptier than originally thought or crucial opportunities to set oneself apart from other applicants were missed. It is in all students’ best interest to balance the enjoyable time spent on the couch with productive activities that will provide them with valuable experience, such as jobs, internships, pre-collegiate summer programs that a surprising number of universities offer, camps and online summer coursework.

Students may be unaware that a small town like Newton can still be a place to broaden roots and develop skills. Finding a summer job or internship in a field of interest is a great way to gain some basic level experience that will be useful in applying for a job later in life. For example, if interested in medicine or health, a job at a veterinary hospital is a unique way to get a foot in the door and observe procedures in action. An interest in journalism could be pursued through internships at the local newspapers, The Kansan and Newton Now. The same can be said for many other areas students are considering for a major.

Additionally, universities all around the country offer summer coursework programs that provide students with an official transcript upon completion. If traveling and staying in on-campus dorms is not an appealing option, online alternatives are offered by most programs as well.

While assigning yourself extra work for the summer is less than appealing to all high school students, completing activities that make you more marketable to colleges and employers falls under that “it’s good for you, so do it anyway” category. With that said, there’s no reason to burn out this summer. Find a healthy balance between things you “should do” and those that you want to do. After all, Season 5 of Orange is the New Black is released on June 9.