April showers seem like they are here to stay! But that also means summer can’t be too far away. People may already be starting to ask you, “So…what are you doing this summer?”

For high school students, summer presents a unique opportunity to do something meaningful.

Doing something meaningful should NOT, however, be yet another source of stress. Don’t waste your time trying to craft the perfect experience you imagine will “wow” college admissions officers someday. Many of the expensive international travel, service, and leadership programs you may hear about do nothing to boost your college application profile. They can, however, be very meaningful experiences…if you are genuinely interested in attending and learning about yourself.

So what should you do? Simple: Find something you love, and do it,  or…speaking more practically…find something you would like to learn more about, then find a way to learn more during the summer.  If possible, get a job! Working for the summer is a fantastic way to learn more about your genuine interests while you learn the value of a hard-earned dollar.

Whatever you decide to do this summer…be sure you do something!  Even if your family has vacation plans, and you need to train for sports, visit colleges, and study calculus, you can still commit to some other meaningful activities.

If job prospects are weak, set up a consistent volunteering schedule at an organization whose mission you support. Seek out an internship, job shadowing, or an informational interview with someone in a professional field you may want to pursue. You may decide to take a class at a local university or community college.

Spending the entire summer at the beach (unless you are a lifeguard or swim instructor) is not a wise choice, but there is a proper balance. After all, the summer is short and all kids deserve some time to relax!