Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
67° Rockville, MD
The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Summer shouldn't be serious
Aliza Bellas, Managing Editor, Copy • June 2, 2024

Since I was seven years old, I’ve spent my academic years looking forward to my three-week session at Capital Camps each summer. Despite any...

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Gigi Gordon, Stella Muzin, and Maya GreenblumJune 2, 2024

Since the 20th century, sleepaway camp has been a staple in the American Jewish community. Many Jewish teenagers spend summers at camps all across...

Summer shouldn’t be serious

Students should take a break from academics while school is out

Since I was seven years old, I’ve spent my academic years looking forward to my three-week session at Capital Camps each summer. Despite any overwhelming assignments, busy weekends completing schoolwork or extracurricular activities, I always found solace thinking about the freedom that summer      would bring.

While planning for this coming summer, with college application season fast approaching, I struggled with how I should choose to spend my time. Should I get an internship that colleges would deem impressive? Should I interview for a job and spend the summer working? Should I spend time compiling essays for my college applications? Each of these questions went through my mind, but in the end, I decided to spend my full summer at camp as a Counselor-in-training (CIT).

The academic year is filled with time to pursue professional internships and extracurricular experiences. Therefore, teenagers should spend their summers in non-serious ways and harness the freedom that only summer can provide.

According to a study conducted by the American Educational Research Association (AERA), students lose 40% of their learning from the prior year over the summer. I can understand how, for academic purposes, students would want to stay engaged in an academic setting during their time off for this reason. However, students can experience burnout if they don’t allow themselves enough time away from their work and rigorous schedules.

Additionally, non-academic summer experiences are extremely influential and have the ability to shape a student’s identity in the future. Opportunities such as group trips and sleepaway camp foster independence and allow students to experience life from a different perspective.

These experiences give students the chance to make new friends, understand how to care for themselves physically and emotionally and learn how to manage their time and money. It is one of the few opportunities teenagers have to leave home and enjoy experiences on their own before adulthood.

A Harvard study found that children who attend sleepaway camp over the summer develop much stronger social-emotional skills than their peers. It wrote that students grew their relationship, responsible decision-making and self-awareness skills during the summer, which in turn helped them upon their return to school and in their outside lives.

I can understand the external pressure that can push students to focus on serious endeavors in the summer. There have been many people who’ve told me I am taking the “lazy” approach to summer and college applications. But I’m grateful that from a young age I’ve been taught to value my growth in settings outside of academic fields.

It is important to take a break and use summer to engage in other experiences. Take a trip, spend a session at sleepaway camp or do something that is free of obligation and responsibility. I recommend that you not take summer too seriously; it’s a choice you won’t regret!

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About the Contributor
Aliza Bellas
Aliza Bellas, Managing Editor, Copy
Aliza is ecstatic to continue her work on The Lion’s Tale as Managing Editor, Copy in the upcoming year. In her past year as Opinion Editor, Aliza found passion in writing timely articles, editing interesting stories, and designing spreads. Outside of the Pub Hub, Aliza dedicates her time to her role as Junior Class President, the Regional Vice President of Membership in BBYO’s D.C. Council, and her role as Editor-in-Chief of The Melting Pot. Aliza is eager to get started on developing the paper’s writing and ensuring that every web and print article is as polished as can be.  

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