The other day as I walked by my kids, who were, as usual, watching an episode of The Office with one eye and looking at something on another iDevice with the other one, it struck me that summer is almost over and this is pretty much what they’ve been doing for the past 60 days.
Super impressive, right?
I imagined their new teachers asking them what they did over the summer and the only answer of real value that they’d be able to give would be, “flossed.”
When I taught fourth grade (way back when cell phones were the size of bread loaves before we really knew what Clinton did with his cigars) I’d have my students write a letter on the first day of school telling me how they spent their summer.
Real original, I’m aware, but it gave me a little bit of insight into what kinds of kids my new students were by letting me know what they liked to do and how they spent their non-school time.
So the other day I got to wondering what my girls’ letters would look like if they’d been students in my class.
And what I came up with sure as hell would have given me insight.
What I Did on my Summer Vacation
by my kids
This summer was awesome. I did a ton of cool things and learned a lot.
In June I got a new SIMS game where you can make mermaids and go scuba diving in the ocean! I spent lots of time every day making new characters and watching them get mauled by sharks. It was super educational. Who knew that sharks are just as likely to attack a mermaid as they are a human? And that mermaids bleed red blood? I also designed some cool houses. Like 183 of them. Since I’m thinking of one day designing giant houses with many rooms that do not connect and backyards that contain every recreational item there possibly is, it was time well spent.
As you can imagine, social media took up a lot of my time. I made sure to keep up with #selfiesunday, #mancandymonday, #transformationtuesday and #throwbackthursday every week on Instagram, and also found time to post lots and lots of photo collages of cute baby animals. I had fun making absurdly short and meaningless videos on Vine and Instagram, and even more fun becoming proficient at the app “VideoStar”, where I made a bunch of funny videos of myself singing along to my favorite songs. I also Snapchatted myself doing all kinds of interesting things like drinking frappuccinos, staring at my phone screen, and holding my cat. #technology
It was exhausting keeping up with the boys from One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer as they made their way across the United States on their tour, but I managed to keep track of them 24/7 by following their constant Twitter updates. And even though I went to their concert and got to see them LIVE, I still found it necessary and an important use of my time to watch fuzzy YouTube videos and look at pictures that other people took at the concerts in different cities until my eyes bled.
I also kept up with Desiree’s compelling and dramatic love life on The Bachelorette each week. I learned a lot about insincere and dishonest guys, tight abs, and that settling for second best is perfectly fine if the guy is offering you a four carat diamond ring.
In mid-July our good family friends came to visit and my friend Abby introduced me to The Office. I was instantly obsessed! We watched most of the first season together and then I binge-watched the rest of the entire series in about three weeks. That’s 201 episodes! I was proud of my stamina and perseverance!
I caught up on a lot of sleep this summer. Even though I stayed up until the wee hours practically every night, I slept in until 10 or 11 a.m. Don’t worry! And the best thing about sleeping until almost lunchtime is that you can eat half a box of Reese’s Puffs in one sitting and it counts as both breakfast and lunch (and if you tweet that out you get a lot of retweets!).
So as you can see, my summer was very exciting and productive. Other than having a totally fun time, I really learned a lot about myself: 11 hours is the perfect amount of sleep for me, I want to marry a guy just like Jim, and I take a really good selfie with my cat.
As you can see, they’re gonna make a super positive first impression in a couple of weeks.
While everything in the above “essay” is (sadly) true, my girls did spend time doing a few other things this summer: they read a ton of books, tubed on the lake with each other every weekend, wrote new stories as well as continued working on books they started writing last summer, hung out with friends, hung out with me and their dad, and, most importantly—as next summer my 17yo will be flying the coop and going to college—they spent quality time with each other. And if that QT involves laughing hysterically at The Office together for hours on end, then that’s just fine with me.
Okay, fine, it doesn’t. But it will bring you welcome distraction from whatever it is you are currently avoiding doing by being on the computer.
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‘Summer vacation’ is a magical phrase that’s sure to make your eyes glowing, whether you’re a kid of 10 or an undergraduate. Of course, there’re some differences to it – while for kids summer means almost undiluted fun and games, college students have to think not only entertainment but their prospects as well. If you know what you want to do with your free time and how, you can make the most of it – to my mind, it’s probably the most important skill you’ll need in adult life!
Some years ago summer mostly got me bored out of my mind. Family sea trips kept growing tiresome, but no one except me seemed to wish for anything different. Then it dawned on me that I needn’t follow everyone – instead of just whiling away time I could learn to manage on my own; that’s when things began to look up.
Since then I’ve devoted my holidays to freelance jobs in my field of study – as an IT student, I did some web design and coding and that sort of thing; in my spare time I would join my friends in sci-fi book club meetings, go to art exhibitions and theater shows. Then we’d write some reviews about it and post it in our blog, which with little time and effort got favorable publicity and earned us some invitations to new places and even members-only events.
This year I’ve been working as a lab assistant in my department, so in summer I decided to take time off work. However, I didn’t forget about a CV booster and worked as a volunteer in preparing and holding an IT Innovations conference. It turned out a worthy investment of time – I struck up acquaintances from which I’m sure to benefit professionally. And the sheer amount of ideas that sparked up in this enthusing environment will be a source of inspiration for everyone involved for months ahead.
As I came back, a no less inspiring activity awaited me: my friend Catherine, an aspiring art therapist, invited me to an art trip to a local rural resort. The place is perfect for open-air drawing and painting which we both love. It sports some ancient architectural sights and picturesque scenery. City folk are fond of coming there to enjoy some peace and quiet, and Cath hopes to get people in to join her art workshop. This start-up’s been her dream for a long time, so she’s really eager for it to see the light of day. I’m to help her with shooting videos for her YouTube channel, taking photos and writing blog posts about it all. Cath’s really talented and has much to share, so I want her venture to become well-known and popular.
That’s how my summer holidays are going. As you see, doing something for your studies during summer doesn’t mean any cramming or frenzied essay-writing practice; and far as enjoying yourself goes you have plenty of opportunities – you have absolutely no excuse for feeling bored!