Okay, so I lied. Summer is not so idle.
For quite a few of us. Volunteering, summer courses, jobs –
you name it. So key is a well-utilized summer, in fact, that
colleges make a special space for it in applications,
inquiring as to what use was actually made of three, long,
seemingly vacuous months.
That’s generally enough of a motivation.
Students I know work and volunteer and study all summer
long. Granted, summer still retains the beauty of a
significant lack of obligation. Indeed, all of the work
that’s packed into our schedules is of our choice.
And that is precisely where I’d like to
make my point. Required reading, standardized tests, and
mandatory guidelines versus the poison of your choice.
Autonomy is the basis of any human dignity. And even
high-achievers and GPA mongerers prefer the more
personalized work of the summer holidays.
Whether the summer job has the student
ladling out greasy food to snappy customers or monotonously
shelving and filing the papers that nobody cares to file or
even ever look back at, it is indeed a blessing. It’s that
thing the student chose to do. So no matter how much she
gripes or fusses about it, she still has a swelling sense of
pride as she thinks, yes, this is what I chose.
And volunteering is far more fulfilling
in the summer, when the student realizes that she personally
is devoting her relaxing time to something else. The school
year is peppered with a whole slew of minimum hour
requirements for this honor society and that volunteer
program, and, no matter how much the student strives to
charm those warm, fulfilling feelings into her heart, she
still feels as though she’s just doing the work that she’s
doing because a) it finishes the last of her needed hours
and b) it fit more neatly into her schedule.
Choice and freedom are best. Not that I
feel caged at school, but somehow I can do just as much as I
did at school now without even an iota of remorse or
annoyance. And not that each class should necessarily be a
la Carte. But certainly some measure of choice wouldn’t