Wake County Public School attendees will enjoy 72 days of summer vacation in 2015. Some are faced with the struggle of occupying themselves with worthwhile adventures to make the most out of their time off. Some wish to enjoy a lazy dream where they enjoy their lack of obligations.
Others will adhere to a routine schedule of working to try and make a little spending money.
The percentage of teenagers who work, however, has hit record lows in recent years–the Boston Globe reported that only 30% of teenagers worked in the summer of 2013. Getting jobs for teens is much harder since the economic crises of the late 2000’s put a hold on job growth. It’s hard to find room for teens to work when more older people have to hold onto their jobs longer.
Most generally aren’t bitter about giving up their free time to make a little money “I have multiple college vacations in the future,” said Cameron Russ, sophomore. “I figure I should start working now to make as much money as possible and get good workplace experience.”
Those who obtain jobs often have their goals at the front of their minds. “I’m working [because] I need to buy a car,” said Jonathan Schwartz, junior. Jonathan is only picking up a job to buy something he feels he needs for next year. Others need to work in order to grow up and adjust to the “adult world,” such as creating a savings account and earning one’s metaphorical freedom.
Just because most teens aren’t working this summer doesn’t mean they aren’t doing anything. Not everyone will work for monetary gain. “I’m going to a christian camp, and I’m going to be a counselor there for kids ranging from 8-13. The second week of summer, I’m going on a mission trip to Ohio Valley in West Virginia. I’ll be building houses there and spreading the word [of god],” said Jake Jeffers, sophomore. Jake is devoting nearly his entire summer to volunteer work centering around his church, and while he won’t be making a dollar, he will, however, be making memories and a difference. According to Bls.gov, only about 26.1% of teenagers volunteer regularly, making it a noble venture.
Something most people don’t like to think about is what happens when you run out of summers to enjoy. For those looking to enter the workforce directly after high school, the true beginning of the rest of their lives is only months away. Paying taxes, moving out and a plethora of other tasks are all that awaits those who have suddenly found themselves to be adults after so many years in the school system. According to a 2014 report by Wallethub, Raleigh is the 2nd most educated city in America. Despite this, many journey into the private sector right out of high school. For example, some have already found their passion and want to begin their adult life immediately following high school.
Furthering training in a passion is an excellent summer idea. “[I’m going to attend a] design camp, run my own business, and visit more colleges. I’m perfectly fine with [running the business]. It’s something I love to do. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have put in the money to make it a legitimate business,” said Tala McGann, junior.
A few students have prior commitments and passions that they will be following, rather than picking up a job just anywhere or taking a lengthy vacation. Following a passion is more rewarding than doing things one would rather not for promise of compensation. After all, the ultimate goal of education is to find a way to support yourself doing something you enjoy.
Not everyone has a scheduled summer. “As of now, I have absolutely no plans for the summer,” said Tonya Eastman, a LRHS social studies teacher.
While most teachers do a little work during the summer, it can’t compete to the amount of work that must be done during the school year. For many, the idea of a passive vacation is a rather attractive idea. For people who work tirelessly for so many months out of the year, the idea of packing up your bags and heading out can sound tiring. According to the same survey by VisualEconomics, 15% of adults generally don’t take a vacation. That isn’t to say that vacations can’t be taken spontaneously. North Carolina, of course, has a wide variety of tourist attractions located right at home. A journey to the beach is a standard vacation for those who live in a coastal state. Popular beaches such as Myrtle, Carolina, the Outer Banks, and other towns up and down the coastline attract people from the north and west to enjoy North Carolina’s mild summers.
Some students take their vacation time to improve their skills in school and after-school activities, such as sports. “Im not doing much… I’m going to a couple of college camps, a Duke camp, a Carolina camp, and a Chris Sailer camp. I intend to get better at what I do in football, which is kicking the football,” said Jefferson Norwood, a sophomore and kicker for Pride Football. A productive use of time, even without money-making potential, is a worthy summer goal.
The impetus of vacations is a desire to go and see the world beyond one’s daily routine. During the financial crisis, which began last decade, 57% of people cut back on or eliminated plans to take a vacation. High school students don’t have many 3 month-long vacations left, and they are tasked with spending them wisely.