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A Blog post

"Relevant" summer school.
  • Calendar Jun 21, 2019
  • User Jared Wells
  • Category In Uncategorized
  • Comments 0 Comments

As kids are starting their summer vacation (and enjoying some well-deserved rest), I hope they are thinking about how they can get the most out of their summers. While a great way to spend summer is to get a jump start on next year, summer is also a great time for students to pursue independent projects.

One of the biggest complaints that students have about high school is that they are forced to learn things that are going to be irrelevant to their future careers (“I’m going to be an architect, so why do I need to learn biology?”) And while I always say that if you look for what is positive or relevant about an experience, that’s what you’ll find, I certainly agree that some fields of study and some experiences will be MORE relevant than others.

So why not use the summer to tackle some independent study or an independent project in a field of the student’s interest?

Here are some ways to do it.

Look up educational requirements for a potential career, and take an online course in that field (one that is not offered in high school)

Examples might include

Student interested in business? How about a course on marketing or accounting?

Student interested in medicine? How about a human anatomy or pharmacology course?

Student interested in programming? How about a course in a language not Java or C++?

Student interested in architecture? How about a course on drafting?

There are tons of resources for online courses depending on the nature of the material. EdX, Skillshare, BYU online university, and many more offer courses on a very wide variety of subjects.

Informational interviews and/or internships/volunteering

I’ve discussed informational interviews before, but I can’t stress enough how invaluable these can be for a student in learning about potential career paths. A student who does 3 a week all summer will have met with a wide variety of professionals and will be light years ahead of their peers when it comes to knowledge of the fields (not to mention learning about and experiencing the benefits of networking).

It isn’t too late to seek out internships/volunteer opportunities as well! Students should reach out to their adult networks to connect with people in fields they are interested in. Even if “official” internship positions have been filled, informal positions can be created for proactive, ambitious students (especially at small businesses!)

Create content

There is no better way to reinforce what you are learning than to teach it. And with the internet, becoming a content creator (teacher) is easy. Medium.com and steemit.com are easy places to post writing, and youtube and bitchute make posting video content simple as well. A great way to start is to learn about the problems and issues facing the industry the student is interested in. Students can do this by

-posting questions on quora.com or find the subreddit devoted to the industry (subreddits will often have threads devoted to career questions like this one

-asking that question in their informational interviews this summer!

-google “problems facing X industry” and “issues facing X industry”

Check out the results for “Challenges facing education industry”. I’ve got a year’s worth of ideas for blog posts on that first page alone!

The key for content creation is that you don’t have to be the world’s foremost expert to have a say and have a voice. In fact, you can be an abject novice, but one who is interested and learning. No one has the combination of experience and knowledge that your son/daughter has, which means they’ll have a different perspective and a different way of communicating than anyone else.

There is no better way to organize thinking than writing about it, and no matter where your son or daughter ends up, practicing their writing skills will help them. Even for students who don’t like writing, they might find (like I did) that writing about topics they are interested is actually quite enjoyable. And imagine how much greater their job prospects will be in 6 years when they show their employer their industry related blog they’ve been active on for years!

Students should make sure to share their content on linkdin (must be 16 years or older)!

Any one of these ideas would be a great way to spend time this summer. But, as you can see, they are also mutually reinforcing. For students that are burnt out on learning “irrelevant stuff”, summer is a great time to get them excited about learning things that will be clearly relevant to their future careers.

What are your students doing this summer to prepare for their future careers?

If your son or daughter could use some support with study skills, we've got a great workshop for them. Call (858.551.2650) or email (help@wellsacademics.com) to sign up for our "Study Skills" workshop this summer. Classes start the week of July 1st!

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