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3 Things to Do This Summer

When you’re in high school, summer is a time to relax. After being busy with homework, extracurriculars, hanging out with friends, and whatever other commitments you have, it’s important to give yourself a breather. You also need a break from getting up every morning; a developing mind needs sleep, after all.

This doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do, though. Don’t groan: there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy yourself and have a productive summer. Here are three things you can do to achieve that mix.

1) Read. It doesn’t matter what. Read whatever you enjoy and whatever most excites you. Too many students associate reading with homework, which all too often means a history textbook. But you don’t have to drag out your copy of The American Pageant to do some beneficial summer reading. Read the paper in the morning (or afternoon, as it may be) with breakfast. Read comics. Read some Ray Bradbury. Read fantasy (yes, even fantasy). Find a list of prize-winning novels—the Booker Prize and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction are good places to start—and pick one. It’s called beach-reading for a reason.

2) Think about college. Summer can also be a time for reflection. During the year it can be hard just to keep track of everything you have to do, let alone think about the future. Even if you don’t need to start working on your applications just yet, think about what you want to get out of college. If you start thinking early, you’ll not only have a better idea when it comes to selecting which schools to apply to, you’ll also end up with a better application. If you’re heading into your junior year, you should start coming up with a potential list. Soon-to-be seniors should be prepping for the SAT and working on their applications—beginning the essay-brainstorming process and getting together a list of potential recommenders.

3) Pursue a hobby. By a hobby I don’t necessarily mean bug-collecting or collage-making. Your hobby could be writing, mountain biking, reading, waterskiing, medical research, gardening, or even your summer job. I don’t know what it is, because only you know what you’re most passionate about and what makes you happy. Here’s where enjoyment and productivity collide—do what you love and you’ll also develop a strong interest outside of the classroom, which is one of the most important parts of a college application.

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