How to have a productive summer


Saba Nabaeighahroudi

UNLIMITED FUN: Northwood students dream to have the summer of a lifetime surfing, interning in a chemistry lab or rocking a pre-college program at NYU.

Ellen J. Wang, Staff Writer

Summer’s knocking on the door, and Northwood students might feel lost and intimidated by the suddenly empty three months free of school. However, summer is a fantastic asset—you can basically organize it any way you want, having the time of your life, growing as a person, and diving deep into your passions. Here are some tips on how to have a productive summer:

Join summer programs for any topic you’re interested in

Summer programs offered by various universities such as UCI, Harvard and Yale provide unique opportunities to further an academic interest while getting a taste of college life and campus. Lasting typically from two to eight weeks, these programs are mostly residential, allowing you to live on campus in dorms and eat in the cafeterias while making unforgettable memories with new friends. COSMOS, School of the New York Times and Yale Young Global Scholars are some notable options. The only downside: these programs are expensive, costing around $3,000 to $7,000. The educational value can be replaced by free IVC classes, but the unique experience can be worth the money. 

Take IVC classes!

This is a cost-free, highly valuable way to explore diverse interests, deepen knowledge, get an academic challenge and earn college credit! Students can talk to Kathi Smith in the College and Career Center to gain more information on how to sign up for classes. Students can take science courses and math courses to fulfill their high school credit!

Get a summer job

Although it earns money, summer jobs’ biggest value is not about the big bucks. It’s an educational experience that can improve students’ soft skills, responsibility and insights on how to run a business. Students interested in joining the fashion industry can get hired in a retail store, and students interested in the restaurant industry can work at In-N-Out. Remember, don’t force yourself to get a job you don’t like—it’s only worth it if you enjoy it and learn something. Remember to obtain a work permit from the College and Career Center.

Explore your interests!

Summer is a perfect time to explore diverse interests! Find creative ways to get involved. For example, you can join political campaigning or activism if you care deeply about social issues. If you love conservation, you can volunteer for environmental organizations. Coursera is a great online platform that offers self-paced classes made by top universities on many subjects, ranging from psychology to business management. 

You could even start your own “passion project,” whether it be writing a book or starting a dance camp for kids. Use your imagination and explore endless possibilities!

Travel or study abroad

Listen up, people who love exploring different cultures or want to gain proficiency in a foreign language! If you can’t travel by yourself, you can apply for study abroad programs through CIEE, a nonprofit that offers programs in numerous countries such as Germany, France and Spain. Moreover, CIEE offers financial aid and scholarships that could cover up to 100% of program costs, which make studying abroad accessible for all students. 

Get an internship opportunity

Although they may be hard to find, it’s definitely possible for ambitious high school students to find work as an intern. Try asking your parents if they have any adult friends in whatever industry you’re interested in, connect with people through LinkedIn or cold call and email people. Experience in law firms, pharmaceutical industries and science labs are a valuable experience for students who want to go into that area. 

Study for SAT and ACT

Standardized tests aren’t the most fun, but with the abundance of free time over the summer, you can prepare for it to have less stress during the upcoming school year. 


Want to get ready for Honors European Literature or AP Literature? Read to improve your English and language skills. 

Have fun!

Go to the beach! Have a picnic, host a baking contest, learn to surf the Californian waves or start a lemonade stand. Have movie nights, go hiking in Yosemite or stargaze on the Northwood hills at night with fireflies twinkling above your eyes. Who said you can’t be productive and enjoy life at the same time?