THE BLOG
06/10/2013 10:07 am ET | Updated May 11, 2015

School's Out for... Nothing?

Here we are. The overwhelming intersection of emotions that can only be described as the end of the school year engulfs us. It smells like venti-sized caffeinated beverages and sounds like a symphony of bah-bing iCal reminders.

At this point in the year, my peers and I are torn in two, very opposing directions: having to focus on insurmountable piles of final assignments and anticipating the upcoming days of summer bliss. I am well acquainted with the lack of sleep and fun that this time of year brings. And, I know thinking about anything other than getting past the next few weeks seems unfathomable, but I want to emphasize the importance of taking advantage of them. If you haven't already, there's still time to plan out, what could be, an exuberant, thrilling, educational and/or inspirational summer.

I know, for many of my peers, two months of not being forced to do anything predominantly connotes and encourages doing a lot of not doing anything. I also know, after spending 10 academic months of doing many things, taking a break by doing nothing can seem really enticing. However, I am here to tell you that not doing anything, thus resulting in nothing can be a bad thing. Taking a break from doing many things, by doing a new or different thing, however, can really be a good thing. Get it?

I have been enrolled in a variety of summer programs for as long as I can remember. I have been (what I now recognize as being) very lucky to be encouraged (sometimes forced) into virtually every kind of activity Southern Ontario offers during summer times. Soccer camps, painting classes, social activism academies, sailing lessons, golf school; I have truly done it all.

At the time, I did not appreciate having to lather up in sunscreen and wear polo shirts to steaming hot golf courses for weeks at a time, but I now understand the significance of such on the person I am today. While the 9-irons specifically probably did not benefit me, I know the commitment I made to expose myself to learning opportunities beyond the classrooms throughout the summer did.

As a sophisticated teenager, I now have the luxury of choosing my own summer endeavours, most recently including local leadership programs and volunteer opportunities with nonprofit organizations like Me to We and Muskoka Woods.

I am invaluably grateful for the resonating experiences, values and friendships with which past summers have provided me with, and I am confident that they are not exclusively available to me.

The notion of learning, especially during the summer, seems to imply dullness or monotony, but throughout a number of my summers, it has simply implied discovery. I really believe summer is not only a time to relax, but also a time to learn. During three out of four seasons of the year, you are a student of school. In this one, you have the possibility to be a student of anything you please. You may not feel as passionately about heading to camp to instruct video production to youth as I do this summer, but you may about something else. I strongly suggest taking advantage of these last few weeks to figure out what that could be on your own terms.

Perhaps some of your peers have been planning their esteemed internships at acclaimed corporations for many months now, and, in light of this, choosing a summer activity so tardily is reasonably daunting. One of the curiosities of summer, however, is not having to be limited to fancy, resume-stimulating activities, or anything else for that matter! And, while I can't tell you what to do specifically, I can encourage you to do something.

This summer, do not sit on your couch and regret missing out on formative experiences, and if you do, do not blame the couch.