The official calendar for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) says the last day of the 2017-18 public school year is June 8th.
That’s in less than a month.
The official LAUSD calendar says the first day of the 2018-19 school year is August 14th.
That means you have 66 days to fill between the end of this school year and the beginning of school next year – and if you’re not careful, your parents are going to fill them for you. You might get shipped off to grandma’s, enrolled in a local summer school program, or end up working a job at your uncle’s printing shop.
All good choices – unless they’re not.
Unless they make you break out in hives and run screaming.
We don’t want that for you.
Don’t get us wrong: there’s most likely going to be compromise between what you want and what they want. If you want to hang out at the pool all day every day and binge Netflix all night every night, they’re probably not going to be too psyched about that. On the other hand, if you want to change the world by volunteering to work in a children’s shelter in a war zone, they probably won’t be too psyched about that, either.
The good news is there’s a happy medium. And guess what? You can come up with a plan that makes everyone happy.
How to Avoid a Completely Parent-Planned Summer
News flash: if they haven’t already, your parents – right now, this very moment – are trying to figure out exactly what you’re going to do for those 66 days. You may not know it, but for parents, summertime can be a tough nut to crack. They get used to the routine and stability school offers. They know where you are all day, every day of the week.
That’s huge. It takes a load off their minds.
But summer is a different story. Nervous-type parents will get, well, nervous. When they think of you winging it all summer long, they start to worry. You may be a great kid – good grades, never get in trouble, never cause problems – but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to wonder what if.
What if my awesome kid falls in with the wrong crowd?
Or my straight-A student loses interest in academics?
What if my kid decides to start smoking weed?
There’s a thousand what ifs that run through your parents’ minds.
Wait, that’s inaccurate.
The number of what ifs that run through your parents’ minds is infinite.
The thing about infinity is this: it’s an imaginary number. You remember that, right? What that really means is that your parents’ worries may or may not be grounded in reality. They may be totally, one hundred percent imaginary.
Just like infinity.
That’s why they can have infinity worries about you: because while some are grounded in reality, others are not. And those are the ones that will get you enrolled in some type of summer program of their choosing, rather than one of your choosing.
So, here’s our advice:
If you have worry-prone parents, come up with a solid summer plan now. We’ve written two articles about summer jobs – The Pros and Cons of Teenage Jobs and Summer Jobs: Legal Details Teens Need to Know – but if you’re not going to work this summer, you’ll make your parents very, very happy indeed if you find something that’s positive and productive to do. The most important thing, though, is to find something keeps you busy.
Because remember: busy teenager = less stressed parental unit.
It’s a simple enough equation.
So how do you solve that equation?
Hint: you don’t need a math camp to find the answer.
A Resource for Teens
We found a website we think can help: Teen Ink. We like this site, and think you will too, because it’s by, for, and about teens. It specializes in giving teens a forum for sharing their fiction and non-fiction writing with like-minded peers. They’ve been around since 1989 and published the work of over 50,000 teens on a variety of subjects. 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 something that can help you plan the summer you want: a Summer Programs Guide.
It’s a perfect place to plan a summer both you and your parents can agree upon. The program guide has information about and links to over 50 summer programs 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 Chinese language Immersion in Beijing to creative writing at Duke University to music, dance, and theater in Chicago, there’s something on this list for just about anyone. You can find a program that takes place over a long weekend, or you can find a program that lasts almost the entire summer – it all depends on what you want. Plus, there’s a special added bonus: most of these programs are a parent’s dream.
So this summer, you and your parents can live a shared dream: their dream of you staying busy and productive combined with your dream of doing something fun and interesting. Everyone can leave their infinite worries behind.
But you have to start planning now: summer is almost here.
Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA. He writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.