By Elvis Wong
Summer, a time when the sun stretches across the horizon into the zenith and perpetually remains there for an eternity, a time when multitudinous fields of flamboyant flowers bloom into full-grown beauties, a time when students are released from the confines of their jail cells which they call school and roam the lands like wild beasts, their complexions completely relaxed, at ease, and ready to have fun.
Sounds extreme, right? But that’s how, I assume, your teacher encourages you to write in English class. You go to school every day, dreading the mountains of homework, class lectures, and tests accompanying the stress of being a typical student. Then you are occasionally given some breaks in November and December and March and by the time summer bulldozes through the front gates of school in June, your perspective and temperament transforms from seemingly dreadful and depressing to much more sanguine and jocular.
Summer is a time for fun, no doubt. But according to the National Summer Learning Association, most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. While many find summer a time for relaxation and fun, it is also essential to continue learning on a weekly basis. Furthermore, studies conducted by the NSLA indicate that all young people experience learning losses when not engaged in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning over 100 years show students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer.
While it is imperative for students to relax and enjoy their summer, many find they spend days simply dragging their feet around the house with nothing to do; they are idle and bored. And although they can waste away their days in their room, on the couch in front of the TV, or in the backyard with a magnifying glass smiting an assembly line of ants, let me suggest something better: summer internships. An internship provides valuable working experience outside the traditional school monotony. Not only do you continue to learn when engaged in an internship, but you also develop social skills in a more professional environment with time to enjoy the summer afterwards.
A 2004 Student Internship Survey conducted by the Regional Internship Center pointed out that 83% of students who participated in an internship rated their experience a seven or higher on a scale with ten being the best. More importantly, surveyed students also valued the opportunity to develop helpful contacts on the job.
So next summer when you have nothing to do, why don’t you try applying for an internship? Colleges like to see that activity on your transcript, you gain experience – it’s definitely a win-win situation.