Senior summer can be a tricky one to negotiate. On the one hand, as with any summer, we think your time should be used productively (and your parents probably agree!). On the other hand, this is precious time for you to take a well-deserved break from the grind of the last four years.
Should you take a class to get a head start on your college course requirements? Or should you eat Doritos, go to the beach, and play Nintendo?
Below, we’d like to share some of our thoughts on how best to think about and plan for senior summer.
Why Does Senior Summer Matter?
Throughout high school, summer has been an important time to change gears from the intense pace and demanding schedule of the school year. It’s also been a time for you to pursue interests and experiences you can’t find at school, to build independence, expand friendships, and ultimately to learn more about yourself.
For a recent high school graduate, the same opportunity to expand and grow holds true, but with a twist: you’re approaching a major life change come August. So what should your post-graduation summer look like?
Option 1: Stay the Course
Even with college on the way, many students describe this summer as feeling like any other: family vacations, summer programs, etc.. If you’ve grown accustomed to a busy, productive summer, you may not want to experience senior summer any differently. Plus, you may have some new opportunities available to you as a recent grad—some specialty programs require students to be 18.
It is absolutely okay to keep your summer “normal.” We do, however, recommend incorporating some downtime. You’ve just completed a long, sometimes grueling, high school career, and college will be another series of challenges (in addition to being exciting and wonderful and all those good things you’re looking forward to). Take some time to decompress before that transition.
Option 2: Celebrate the Moment
Maybe this summer feels special. Maybe even if your previous summers have been highly scripted, this year feels like the time for a major trip, some serious relaxation, and enjoying the moment with friends, who might be heading in many different directions at the end of the summer. This is another totally valid option! Feel free to recognize that this is one moment where your activities don’t have to align with either the high school experience or the college application process, and use this summer as a reprieve from “normal life.”
Option 3: Try Something New
Maybe you want a job to save up for college expenses; maybe you want to explore career opportunities that weren’t available to you at a younger age. There are plenty of new directions and experiences, from volunteering to internships, open to you now that can provide a wonderfully rich final summer at home.
Whether you choose to stay the course, take some time off, or celebrate in a special way, remember that the only right answer is what works best for you and your family. Trust what feels right, and you’ll have a wonderful senior summer.