Opinion

Freedom to Explore, Learn, and Experience

Words: Madhu Lal

As the last day of school is drawing near, many Centennial students are looking forward to playing in the sun, hanging out with friends, and spending days upon days doing anything but homework. Summer vacation serves as a way for students to take a breath from the stress of school.

I feel that summer vacation is a time to do what one feels is important. Hanging out with friends and relaxing should be a part of summer vacation, but I feel that working for a cause or exploring one’s passion is also an important event that should comprise part of summer break.

Many students become bored and do not challenge themselves during vacation. This lack of stimulation in the brain during summer causes students to lose information learned during the school year.

Studies published by summerlearning.org show that “Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months… students also lose more than two months in reading achievement.”

The stimuli that I feel should happen during summer does not necessarily have to fall under the traditional “educational” subjects such as math or English. I want to push students to explore and investigate their interests and get a better understanding of who they are and what they like or dislike.

Students also constantly worry about the future, whether or not they will find what they love to do, if they will get a good job, if they will be happy with their lives. Summer can serve as a perfect time for teens to ponder these questions and explore new jobs, hobbies, and subjects for extended periods of time without the disturbance of school work or exams.

Students always complain about not having time during the school year to do what they are interested in, but then when summer comes, and they have all the time in the world, they waste it by playing mindless video games or wasting money on clothes.

What students need to understand is that, by utilizing their summer and focusing on one or two things that make them happy, they will gain experience and knowledge that will help with their future.

Summer is the time for teens to take responsibility and initiative in learning new things because they want to, not because they are forced to.

One way to explore the vast opportunities and experiences that life has to offer is to visit local community events that are of your interest, whether it be a concert, a festival, carnival or car show. These places are great ways to immerse yourself in the culture behind an interest. Another way to find opportunities to express your interests is by signing up for different camps, clubs, or activities that are available. Finding internships and shadowing programs can also be interesting and exciting ways to spend a part of the summer.

Hanging out with friends is definitely an important aspect of summer, but sitting inside on Tumblr or playing video games in a messy dark room is a waste of a curious mind.

This coming summer I urge everyone to seek out opportunities and activities that will help in finding oneself and understanding one’s abilities and talents. Summer vacation is temporary; we are nearing the end of having vacation during the summer, and we might as well make it useful by uncovering the plethora of talents within ourselves waiting for the opportunity to shine.

To find information on events in Howard County and internship programs please visit: http://www.visithowardcounty.com or http://www.ellicottcity.net/events/.

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