What Happened to Summer Vacation?

Karis is a 16-year-old living in Middle Earth most of the time. She wishes that she were born 10000 years in the future (or however long it takes to reach the pinnacle of human civilization). She can normally be found between the pages of a book or in the kitchen.

SUMMER :) by gege.gatt

It’s time for summer flings, late-night partying and nocturnal ventures. It’s summer vacation—the pinnacle of all vacations and the epitome of adolescent freedom. Traditionally the time for teenagers to roam the mall, domineer the pool and perhaps break a few windows, summer vacation has evolved to become a time for rigorous resume-building work.

It’s disheartening seeing teenagers, my peers, swapping their homework and classwork for more…work. High school students see the break as a perfect opportunity to spruce up their college applications through intensive resume-building work. By enrolling in competitive pre-college programs and applying for summer jobs and internships, students attempt to gain an edge over the many high school students with whom they will be competing against.

This initiative may sound impressive, but it is a little worrying. Summer break is supposed to be just that—a break! High school students need time to recuperate from their year-long stress of AP classes and activities. But students are more and more frequently forgoing rest and relaxation for the opportunity to pad their resumes.

These summer activities range from SAT prep classes, to foreign exchange programs and full time jobs. These activities reflect the changing attitude of American teenagers; unable to accept anything less than the top, students are no longer content with their own best. Rather, they are intent on outperforming their peers.

And what is this all for? The added activities may impress an admissions counselor or two, but this zealous pursuit of excellence can overwork even the best students. Teenagers who spread themselves too thinly will burn themselves out.

Sadly I’m one of those overachieving students. And I can not claim that I am following my own advice. I applied to many competitive college programs, getting rejected by some and accepted by others. In the end, this summer I will be interning for my local newspaper, volunteering at the Smithsonian American History Museum, as well as holding down a part time job with a tutoring program. But, I guarantee you; when August comes around; I will blow up my floating pool chair till my lungs give out and head down to the pool.

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