The official calendar for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) says the last day of the 2018-19 public school year is June 7th.
That’s less than a month away.
The official LAUSD calendar says the first day of the 2019-20 school year is August 20th.
That means you have 74 days to fill between the end of this school year and the beginning of school next year. If you’re not careful, your parents are going to fill them for you. They might send you to grandma’s, enroll you in a local summer school program, or set up a job working for your uncle’s landscaping company.
All good choices – unless they’re not at all what you want to do.
Unless they make you want to run screaming.
We don’t want that for you.
We get it: there may be some distance between what you want and what your parents want. If you want to hang out at the pool all day play video games all night, they might not be on board. On the other hand, if you want to work forty hours a week, they probably won’t be too psyched about that, either.
The good news is that you can compromise. You can come up with a plan that splits the difference, and makes everyone happy.
Tips to Avoid a Parent-Planned Summer
If they haven’t already, your parents – probably right now – are trying to finalizing exactly what you’re going to do for those 74 days. You may not know it, but for parents, summertime is not the easiest time of year to plan for. The school year is much simpler. There’s a routine that stays fairly stable for about nine months – no planning necessary.
They know where you are all day, every day of the week.
They like that.
Summer is a different story, though. Parents prone to worry will…worry. A lot. When they think of you without structure all summer long, they start to freak out. You may be the perfect kid – good grades, good friends, good hanits – but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to wonder what if.
Here are the kinds of things that goes through their heads:
….my awesome kid falls in with the wrong crowd?
….my straight-A student loses interest in academics?
….my typically cautious kid decides to start smoking weed?
…or tries harder drugs like opioids?
There are a million what ifs that run through your parent’s minds.
Wait, that’s inaccurate.
The number of what ifs that run through their minds is infinite.
The thing about infinity is that it’s an imaginary number. Remember that from math class? Therefore, your parents’ worries may not be grounded in reality. They may be totally, one hundred percent imaginary.
That’s why they have the capacity to worry endlessly about you. Because while some of their worries grounded in reality, others aren’t. And guess what? Those are the ones that will give you a summer planned entirely by them, rather than you.
Here’s what we think should do.
If you have parents who worry, come up with a good summer plan. We’ve written two articles about summer jobs – Teenage Jobs: Pros and Cons and Summer Jobs: All the Legal Details Teens Need to Know – but if work is not in your plans, you need to come up with something else. One way to make worrying parents happy is to find something positive and productive to do. The most important thing, though, is to find something they approve of that fills all that time.
74 days. Ten weeks. Two thousand hours. A hundred thousand minutes. More than six million seconds.
Fill that time, and your parents’ stress level will decrease. Because remember: busy teenager = less stressed parents. And of course: less stressed parents = happier teen.
The equations are simple.
So how do you solve them?
A Complete Summer Guide
We found a website that can help: Teen Ink. It’s a great site. It’s by, for, and about teens. The main focus of the site is to provide teenagers a forum for sharing their fiction and non-fiction writing their peers. They’ve been around since 1989 and published the work of over 55,000 teens. In their own words, they’re “…a website devoted entirely to teenage writing, art, photos, and forums.”
But that’s not entirely true.
They also have a Summer Programs Guide that might be exactly what you need to plan a summer you and your parents can agree upon. The program guide has information about and links to over 50 summer options in the following categories:
- Academic Programs
- Visual Arts/Photography
- Community Service/Activism
- Creative Writing
- Language Programs
- Performing Arts
- Outdoor Adventure
- Reading & Writing
- Travel/Teen Tours
From language Immersion to creative writing to music, dance, and theater, there are options for just about any interest. You can study abroad or close to home. You can find a short program that takes place over a long weekend or one that lasts all summer. It all depends on what you want to do. The added bonus here is that most of these programs are exactly what your parents want: educational, enriching, and they’ll look great on your high school CV.
So now it’s up to you.
Summer is right around the corner.
Literally less than a month.
But it’s not too late. If you start planning now, you and your parents can still live the dream: they can live their dream of you staying busy and productive all summer, while you can live your dream of doing something fun, interesting, and entirely self-planned.
Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA who writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.