By Tom Kowalski
NFL Continuing Education Consultant
Every student watches the clock tick all too slowly toward that final bell of the year signaling summer vacation.
While summer may mean flip-flops and sun, swimsuits and fun, it is also an extremely important season in terms of continuing to strive toward success. According to Heather Lovell, an education consultant in Denver, students lose an average of 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in math and 25% of their reading skills during the 80 plus days that most summer vacations usually last. It is important to keep your brain active during the summer. While most students are looking for freedom from the rigors of scheduling, they should continue to adhere to a schedule, albeit one of their own choosing. Here are some suggestions on how students can keep sharp over the summer:
The most important strategy to maintain during the summer months is to continue to read. If you play a sport, read about its history or about your favorite athletes. Like the movie, The Hunger Games? Read the book. The goal for all high school students should be to read at least six books during the summer to avoid lowering their reading skill level.
Over the years, many a football coach has said that players are made in the summer while teams are made in the fall. If you are an athlete, it is likely that you may attend a camp that is going to help you improve your game. Not only will going to a sports camp (or music camp, acting camp, etc.) help you improve your craft, you will also reap the benefits of having a schedule which will help you be more productive during the day.
Speaking of schedules, it is wise for students to make a plan for each day of their summer vacation. The lazy days of summer have a way of blending together, and before you know it school will be starting and you will have accomplished less than you planned.
Every student looks forward to summer vacation, but admit it – learning new things, especially in subjects that you are interested in, can be fun. Take a summer school class to learn something new, maybe play a musical instrument, write short stories, or become a painter. There has always been symmetry between arts and smarts.
Work isn’t a four letter word. Wait, yes it is, but not in that context. Finding a job can not only put money in your pocket but will help you manage your time, teach you financial management, and, if you’re lucky, will give you some insight on possible future careers. Try and find a job in a field that you are interested in. Internships also are a good way to use your time in the summer and can sometimes count for school credit.
It is a well-known fact that there is no “I” in team but a “U” in volunteer. Find a cause and support it, whether it is through your church, a local charity, or even at the local pet shelter. Help others succeed through your passion; you will feel better yourself for doing so. Volunteering also looks great on a college or professional resume.
Surely, summer break should be just that – a break from the routine of rigorous study and a schedule set to school bells. Smart students will use the summer as a season to explore interests, seek out opportunities, and continue to develop talents.
What are your plans for summer? Are you going to learn a new skill, seek information on possible careers, or spend time with your teammates or friends volunteering to help in your community? Whatever you choose, understand that it is experiences that shape life, and summer is a wonderful time of the year to try new things.
Go to www.NFLEngagementZone.com to share your summer plans.