Summer jobs may be golden opportunity for teens

In the June 6-12, 2024, edition of The Daniel Island News, 73% of readers said teens should work during the summer because it builds character and teaches responsibility. 
I agree! Busy hands are happy hands. 
I loved reading about the first jobs people held as teens. 
My first job was at an ice cream shop, then retail, then in a medical office of phlebotomists, where I registered patients and labeled the vials. I thought I’d really moved up in the world then, until I realized the sight of blood made me ill.
But I needed a summer job, and eventually, I got used to seeing the many vials filled with red liquid. I’d even take the trays to the lab, and by the end of summer, the sight of blood no longer bothered me. I learned first aid and CPR, and as a mom, when my kids got scraped up, I knew how to clean, pressure or elevate the limb, and send them out to play again.
Teens look forward to summer as a time for relaxing and having fun. We want them to enjoy their school breaks, although too much free time can increase the chances of unhealthy habits and risky behaviors. Spending long hours on social platforms, playing video games, or mega watching favorite shows will not make them feel relaxed and happy. Research shows that kids are happier with some structure and goals, even during the summer. 
While working with teens, I find that ninth and 10th graders have the largest capacity for exploring interests for which there was no time during the school year. For example, a rising ninth grader may take a coding class and learn a new programming language.
Some kids benefit from taking a class or tutoring lessons in an area where they’re not strong, typically math or a foreign language. In the fall, they may be able to take a higher-level class or bypass taking it alongside other challenging courses.
I remember getting a few private tutoring sessions in Latin and French before entering high school, and just those few summer lessons gave me a head start, which propelled me to continue to do well.
For those teens who are thinking about pursuing careers in the medical field, gaining some exposure to medical offices and hospitals is essential. I remember this student who volunteered as an orderly for one summer, and while he enjoyed talking with patients, he discovered that he didn’t like the “hospital smell,” the indoor temperature, or the hospital food!
Once they start driving, however, teens veer toward paid work, and the capacity for summer academics dwindles.
When they’re rising juniors and seniors, we find them working at grocery, retail or ice cream stores, restaurants, or pools. Some write articles for The Daniel Island News or deliver the newspaper door-to-door. A few manage to both work and prep for a standardized test, or, if they’re rising seniors, get the college applications done. Summers can provide both exposure to reality outside the classroom and academic fodder for some uniquely interesting college essays. 
As we know, selective colleges want to see good grades and test scores. The extracurricular activities are icing on the cake. You never know when an ice cream scooper is the teen who writes about their summer experience so well that it hooks the elite school admissions readers.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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