Student Perspective

How to balance a fun and productive summer

by Nikolai | May 16, 2012 | Student Perspective 0 Comments

For many students summer is a time to relax, maybe go to the beach and swim, or just sit around at home and do a whole lot of nothing. Others may choose to get a job and work through the summer to get some spending money during the school year, or even to take summer classes or go on a mission trip. All of these things are part of having a great balanced summer.

While I lived in Portugal, my summers basically consisted of enjoying the beautiful beaches, and taking a trip to Texas to visit family. I like to think that the Mediterranean climate and breath taking scenery is to blame for my laid back approach to summer, but who knows right? One thing that was drastically different when I moved to Texas was the amount of jobs that are reserved and catered to high school students in the summer. In Portugal nobody my age worked, partly because it is just not easy to get a job at the high school age. There are two main reasons why working in the summer can be beneficial to a student. First of all, it adds to your résumé and shows future employers that you have a good work ethic; and second of all, it allows you to save money and learn how to be financially responsible.

Rest and Relaxation:

The first thing I want to do after my last final is to sleep for about 12 hours, and there is nothing wrong with that! One of my absolute favorite ways to relax is to go fishing. I make sure to take plenty of time in my summer to be able to fish, and usually plan a trip around it. Another great way for me to relax while gaining some great experience is to go abroad. Experiencing different cultures is a valuable resource and one of the best ways to broaden your worldview and become a better global competitor in todays intercultural economy. Whether you like to fish and travel, or sleep and play video games; make sure you take time in your summer to fulfill those needs, so you do not feel like you constantly have to do them during the school year, when your priority should be studies!

Summer school:

This is a great way to earn some college credits and get a head (or catch up) with relatively easy, but intense courses. Depending on the establishment classes can vary on time, some of the ones I have encountered are 8 hours a day for a week, four hours a day for two weeks, or a month online. For international students who do not plan on staying in the host country for the summer, online classes are a great way to earn credit without having to be away from family or worrying about housing.

Mission work:

This is always a great choice this time of year because you are able to fully immerse and commit to your mission. I have had two big mission trips during this time where I went to Bulgaria, and the other time to Romania to serve orphans by building playgrounds and teaching them English. Not only do you help better their lives and spread the good word, but you also meet many great friends and make life long memories. You might be surprised at how good it feels to give expecting nothing in return, and just how much you actually do benefit form selfless acts.


Now the real challenge is how to healthily balance all of these possibilities into a productive yet replenishing and relaxing summer. If you can find a job, and are not strapped for cash, work part-time somewhere for half the summer or find someone in your possible profession that you can shadow or intern for, while you are not working during this time you may spend time with family or friends relaxing and taking time to recover from the school year. The other half of the summer could be spent trying to rack up some college credit if you can, or using your time to serve locally or abroad. Do not feel guilty about enjoying your time off and relaxing, this is good for the mind and the soul, and is a necessary part of the summer! But beware that sleeping in all the time and only spending time to relax will make your summer pass by so much quicker!

My Summer:

I will give an insight into my summer as an example of a pretty well balanced schedule so that you can get an idea on how to make your own. I just finished my last final on Tuesday May 8th, and will continue to work both my part time jobs (26 hours a week total) until the end of May. In June I will take a month to move houses and spend time for myself here in Abilene to relax (remember this is important)! I saved a two week period here in case I could afford taking a summer course, However with my current financial situation I was unable to. In the begging of July I am going to take a weeklong trip to Arkansas, kayaking camping and fishing with a group of Christian friends as a retreat/man trip. In the middle of July I will leave for Portugal to visit my family, and reconnect with the Young Life group there and minister to high school kids in the area. I will return in the middle of August to come home and prepare for the upcoming school year and will start my part time job again.

Remember that your main role in life at this point is to be a student! And that is very important, and grades should always come first during the school year. You are also only human, so having time to relax and enjoy God’s wondrous creation is a great blessing, and essential to the cycle of the school year.

Summer is a time for experiences, whether that be visiting a new country, shadowing a profession that interests you, learning about new things in summer classes, or trying new things that benefit your understanding of our broad and diverse world; this summer is a great time to take advantage of these great opportunities. I encourage everyone to be thinking to the future and to build on your experiences and résumés so that when it is time to begin your career, you have a foot in the door and stand out from the crowd.

Blessings this summer in all that you do,

Nikolai Rabinovitsj

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