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5 Things Every Teen Should Do This Summer


Sat, June 08

School is about to be over. The summer vacation we have been waiting for forever has finally arrived. As the school year ends we often ponder how we can make the most out of our summer vacation to be able to start strong when school comes around again. Some of you will be traveling to different places, visiting your friends, or maybe relaxing on the beach.

But the question always lies in, what kinds of things we can do over the summer and how we can better prepare ourselves for the new school year ahead. Here are 5 things you should do during the summer of 2024!

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1. Learn A New Skill

Use the summer to acquire a new skill and try something different than you would normally do. The skill could be something that aligns with your interests or it can be something that will help you in the future. Learning a new skill might not be useful now, but it may be something that will impact your life. As Steve Jobs said in a Stanford Commencement Speech:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” ~ Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class and learned calligraphy because he dropped out of college. The skill he got when learning calligraphy about typography all came back to him when he designed the Macintosh Computer at Apple. It was because of learning calligraphy that typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts are now in every computer.

“It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. ” ~ Steve Jobs

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The new skill you learn could be learning to play the guitar through GuitarZoom or coding through Treehouse. The possibilities regarding how you decide to acquire a new skill are endless.

2. Give Back to Your Community

Volunteering is a great way to spend your summer and can boost your university applications and CV, whether you're in middle school or high school. You can dedicate some of your time during the summer to a retirement home, a local charity, or even a nongovernmental organization (NGO). Volunteering not only helps you gain work experience and meet people from all walks of life, but you can also help others improve their quality of life.

If you like working online, you could choose to volunteer for the Smithsonian Digital Volunteers Program in transcribing to “make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible”.

Take the initiative to start reaching out to local community organizations and charities to explore different volunteer opportunities. You can inquire about their current initiatives and express your interest in getting involved, or even ask your school if there are any volunteer projects over the summer that you can participate in. Additionally, consider volunteering online for the Smithsonian to make historical documents more accessible. Be the change!

3. Spend Time With Friends

Go do something fun in your summer and spend time with your close friends, destress, relax, and laugh over your fond memories. Depending on your age, you can plan an excursion with your friends to a new place and even explore the world. Spend a day on the beach with friends, go hiking together, or spend a few days out camping together and reconnect with nature.

One of my friends recommends planning a staycation together at one of the Resorts; I am curious about how that is going to go. For younger teenagers, you can host a sleepover with your friends during the summer. Or if you have friends that are far from home and you don't normally visit them, you could go see them!

I have a friend over in Hong Kong, who I have not seen for a year. I plan to visit him during my summer vacation.

Summer vacation is a time for us to relax and recharge and we often do that best with our friends. Resting and recharging are essential to prepare for a new school year ahead.

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4. Read For Fun

The whole school year we have spent countless hours every day reading textbooks, articles, classical literature, and other reading materials assigned by the school. It is time to read for fun and read things that you like, such as reading The Teen Magazine or a Manga. Read about something you have an interest in and want to know more about, knowing that there is time to indulge in your interests during the summer.

Some of my favorite books include Farheight 451, by Ray Bradbury, which I recommend for those of you who have not read it yet. If you like non-fiction I would recommend Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight. Some books I would recommend for teenagers are:

  • The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King
  • The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

No matter if you pick up a book or a graphic novel, reading something that can spark your interest is the most important.

5. Explore Mother Nature

Mother nature has been around us forever. So, why not take a stroll through the woods, mountains, or hills to relieve stress? For those of you who are living in the city, this is a great chance to collect yourself from the buzzing city and spend time in a quieter environment to recollect your thoughts during summer. You can explore nature with your friends and family and it is a great chance to reconnect with your loved ones after the school year.

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How many of these summer activities have you done so far? Was it worthwhile of your time? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Ethan Yau
5,000+ pageviews

Writer since May, 2024 · 3 published articles

Ethan is an eleventh grader at an international school in Macau. He enjoys spending his spare time reading, writing, and exploring the city. His favorite books include Fahrenheit 451 and Shoe Dog. He is an active member of the arts community in his school and was previously an editor of his school magazine. Beyond academia, Ethan is a competitive swimmer, representing Macau in swimming championships and meets across Asia.