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FEATURE

A cure for the summertime blues

Summer has arrived, and while many of you might be dreaming of a long, leisurely vacation, boredom can quickly set in for some students. At that point, many students start to wish they had some interesting things to do. Before things slow down too much, consider taking on at least one or two of the projects listed below. They are all meant to be useful learning experiences, but they can also be fun.

  • Participate in college preview programs
    Many colleges and universities hold programs for high school students that last from a weekend to a couple of weeks. Preview programs give you an opportunity to "live" the college life, attend classes, and get an idea of what it is like to attend school. Contact the admissions offices of colleges you are interested in for more details.
  • Plan weekend visits with relatives — keeping the future in mind
    If you're like most students, you may have relatives who live in other communities across the county, across the state, or across the country. Find out if it is possible to visit some of them over weekends to catch up with family. While you're there, plan on visiting technical schools or colleges you might be interested in. Visit with an admissions representative and ask for a campus tour. If you find you have an interest, pick up newspapers, apartment guides, and other information from grocery stores or gas stations that may give you better insight into the costs of living in that community.
  • Volunteer for summer improvement projects at your church or nonprofit organization
    Summer is a good time for getting more involved with activities to improve your church, homeless shelter, women's shelter, or other organization. Cleaning yards, organizing resource rooms, raising money through fundraising events, and supporting youth groups are all good activities. If you're interested in certain careers, find tasks that relate. For example, if you'd like to be a teacher, volunteer to help with daytime religious school activities or organize field trips.
  • Read as much as possible
    The morning newspaper, news and science magazines, fiction and nonfiction books — take on as much reading as possible. Some of your reading can be fun, but remember to tackle some serious books along the way. Stop by your school office to pick up summer reading guides offered by your English teacher, or visit Web sites that offer recommended reading lists. Bookstores often host youth reading groups, and libraries also frequently hold similar events.
  • Build a summer career case project
    Summer offers a lot of time to do research, so you can get ahead on your future career. Pick a profession, and use the summer to learn as much as possible. Collect research on the Web. Read books on the subject. Find someone in your community who has a career in which you are interested, and ask to spend a day with them, or volunteer to work part time for them. Use the Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/oco/print/home.htm) to find out what type of education is required to get a job in that field. Make a list of colleges or universities in your area and beyond that offer the type of education that interests you.