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Summer Freedom Can Still Be Productive!

As final exams conclude, as you turn in your year-end projects, as you wait for AP scores and prepare for your upcoming SAT, ACT, and SAT subject tests in June, as you begin to pack for a summer trip, a new internship, or (gulp) college, please stop for a moment and take a deep breath.  No seriously, put down your phone and close your laptop.  I’ll wait for you.  Turn off the TV.  Put your stress ball down.  Shut your bedroom door and unplug the landline (I know, I know, what’s a landline?)  Make sure to take a long deep breath.  Close your eyes.  Think about where you are in your life and how far you’ve come, not only this year but in the year’s prior.  Think about your family and your friends.  Think about your goals for yourself.  Concentrate on your thoughts.  Relax for a few precious seconds.  Are you ready?  Good, slowly open your eyes.  Look out the window and exhale.  Now…


How would you like to spend your summer?

I know, it’s a loaded question, but an important one.  Are you traveling?  Are you volunteering?  Are you playing sports?  Are you working?  Are you studying for standardized tests?  Are you taking an online course?  Are you taking a class at a community college?  Ok, wait, I’m sorry about all the questions.  Go ahead and grab your stress ball again.  Are we back on track?  Alright, let’s try again.  There is absolutely no requirement that you engage in all or even most of the above activities I mentioned above.  By this point you have likely already discussed summer plans with your Insight counselor or at least pondered your options at home with your parents.  But whatever, you have decided, you should be doing “something.” Don’t panic – there is freedom in that word.  “Something” is inexact by definition – it lacks clarity and one person’s “something” isn’t necessarily the same as another’s.  You don’t want to copy the same summer plans of your best friend or take the most popular route anyway.  Rather, you need to do what works best for YOU.


Colleges respond to diversity, they respond to students who exercise unique choices. Just ask this year’s fantastic group of graduating seniors, who in just a few short months will be on their way to orientations on college campuses from California to the UK and beyond. Talk to seniors you know or ask your counselor to put you in touch with older students who shares your interests.  Find out what worked for them, what motivated them, and how they utilized the ten weeks each summer between school ending and beginning. Ask them if they have any regrets about the decisions they made (hey, there’s a nice college essay prompt for you rising seniors). 


But while being your own person is important, please don’t be alarmed if you are making decisions based on upcoming priorities either. In fact, that’s often crucial.  Will you be tackling your first AP class next fall?  If so, how are you getting ready?  Whether your peers are enrolling at De Anza or self-studying with a guide purchased on Amazon or doing practice problems through Collegeboard is irrelevant. Discuss with your counselor what YOU should be doing to maximize your success.  If you are signed up for an SAT in August or an ACT in September, how are you studying?  Some students thrive in a one-on-one setting with an experienced tutor.  Others do their best work in an intensive 10 day boot camp that enables collective ideas, reveals strategies, and allows for maximum practice. You can see our test prep options by clicking here. 


However you spend this summer, don’t be afraid to fail or try something unfamiliar.  Opportunities to explore who you are in depth are few and far between, especially the older you get.  Take advantage of this time.  And please remember, we are here to help.  We plan with students of varying ages every day.  We want to put you in the best position to thrive, to peak, to try a new activity. High school passes by very quickly.  Enjoy yourself, do your very best, and don’t forget to smile.

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