Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

Sophie Rong

Students should spend their summers on jobs, internships or academic programs

Summer break is usually thought of as a time for students to do whatever their hearts desire, whether that be unwinding from busy academics or hanging out with friends. At the same time, these nine weeks of freedom can be used wisely to help build students’ strengths and futures. Students should spend their summers on jobs, internships or academic programs to develop important life skills and delve into their interests.

From working at a boba shop to interning with a technology company, any summer work builds important qualities that will help students after graduation. Shelcy Joseph, a contributor for Forbes, found that some of the top traits employers look for in job applicants are reliability, initiative and adaptability. Students can develop these skills by embarking on real-world experiences over the summer, where there are concrete consequences to their work and no teachers to guide them. For example, in retail, workers have to learn how to communicate professionally with customers, honing their self-management and interpersonal skills. In pre-college programs where participants live on a college campus, they have to navigate life without their parents, forcing them to solve problems on their own.

Students can also choose jobs or programs that align with their interests, helping them develop passions and discover new fields. These activities could range from taking courses at a community college to working at a science museum. Students can thus develop a stronger interest and gain more experience in fields that they enjoy but don’t have the time to explore during the school year. For students who are unsure of what they want to pursue in the future, trying out different jobs or activities during the summer is a great way to find which ones appeal to them. Furthermore, prior experience in a certain field can give students a leg up in the college or job application process and help them excel in their area of interest.

Students may be reluctant to do a summer job or program because they want to relax, but it’s possible to balance work and play. They can go on a family vacation, watch Netflix on the weekends and also have a job throughout the summer. Balancing a job or internship with leisure activities instills valuable time- and self-management skills. Engaging in these activities can be fun, fulfilling and impactful, allowing students to be immersed in topics they are passionate about with people who share similar interests. Thus, summer jobs and programs provide one-of-a-kind opportunities for high schoolers to develop valuable traits and gain experience in a real-world setting.

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