Topics in American Education: Use summer as valuable time to balance study, relaxation

The Newtonite

 

Topics in American Education: This blog features criticisms and commentary on education at this school and in the United States as a whole. Check out more blog posts at theNewtonite.com. Graphic made by Julia Moss.
Topics in American Education: This blog features criticisms and commentary on education at this school and in the United States as a whole. Check out more blog posts at theNewtonite.com. Graphic made by Julia Moss.

Welcome to September. July and August flew by quickly. Hopefully, you all feel prepared to dive head-first into the next school year.
This past summer, I spent time considering the best way to use the vacation months we are granted as a time to reset my mind.
Much of the time I felt conflicted as to whether relaxation and freedom from all things “school” was the best way to prepare, or whether I should dedicate at least a small portion of the summer toward something academic. I realized that, for me, a balance was best.
Maybe it was just me, but it felt as though we were all especially itching for summer vacation to begin this past June. Perhaps it was the noticeable extension of the school year that the many snow days caused, or perhaps it was the fact that tensions and stress and stakes in our education seem to rise each year, but last year we were all pretty much burned out after 10 months of school.
Because of this, I entered the vacation with a mindset that I would do absolutely nothing academic until September (besides some summer reading for various classes, which actually was quite fascinating). My mother was quick to challenge this mindset, arguing that I, like many of my classmates, should take the freedom of summer as an opportunity to study to take the SATs as soon as possible at the beginning of my junior year.
We argued for a little while, but she did present a decent counter-argument to the assertion that clearing our overstressed minds through a couple months of freedom from anything traditionally academic will best prepare us for the trials of the coming school year: the summer is, she suggested, a time we can use to complete certain stressful tasks, like studying for the SATs, so that we do not have to worry about them on top of our courses during the school year.
Yet, these tasks can be as stressful as any you would do during the year. That’s where the idea of balance comes in. If you want academics to be a priority during the summer, I respect that decision. That said, I do not recommend making academics the priority, because, in my opinion, that’s what the school year is for.
Like I said, I hope you all had relaxing summers. While I hope you had a couple months free of academic stress, I also hope you learned something new. I can’t see how you wouldn’t have.