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    What Should I Do the Summer Before High School?

    Congratulations! You are officially a high schooler. High school may seem daunting at first, but you will get used to it after the first week. It is truly the time to work hard, but enjoy being a teenager. Having finished my freshmen year, I compiled a list of eight things you can do this summer to prepare. 

    #1 Make an Extracurricular Activities Document

    The first thing to get your high school career going is to start a list of all your notable achievements (extracurriculars, lessons, awards). In the future, you will have to reference this document when filling out applications. Trust me, you will not remember what you did in previous years. It’s beneficial to record the duration of the activity, the organization you attended, skills gained, and awards. Extracurriculars aren’t the only thing you document. Summer camps are just as crucial.  Keep the document organized and make an extra copy just in case.  It’s up to you on formatting, but here is an example below. For future reference: keep all paper certificates and/or awards in one place. 

    Date  Activities  Organization/Instructor Skills Gained  Awards 
    2016-present  Math Academy  Riverside Math Academy In-depth knowledge of Algebra I and II  1st Place Team in State MathTools Competition 
    June 2019 Coding Summer Camp  University of Riverside Department of Computer Science  Learned basics of Python, created a game  Certificate of Participation
    2018-2021 Soccer Team  Riverside United Soccer Jerry Smith  Teamwork, quick thinking, perseverance Girls Soccer Tournament 2018 

    #2 Start your Resume 

    Your next step is to start a resume. You will need it for most applications. For example, some volunteering applications require a resume, so it’s good to prepare one beforehand. You don’t need anything super professional. This is really just to start your profile as a high school student. There are millions of resume templates online, so have fun choosing colors, patterns, and designs.  Include any extracurriculars, sports, or clubs you are a part of in and out of school. It’s totally okay if your resume isn’t jam packed. It will eventually fill up throughout high school with all the opportunities you’ll get. For now, just have a few strong activities recorded. 

    #3 Volunteer

    Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

    There are many benefits to volunteering. Not only is it a great way to give back to your community, but you also earn tons of experience. It’s also very fun and rewarding, so sign up for something you genuinely enjoy doing! Whether you choose an animal shelter or a childrens science center, your work is still valued. Volunteering also shows colleges that you truly care about your community and are willing to put in the work for it. A quick Google search of volunteer opportunities in your area will keep you busy all summer! 

    #4 Personal Goals 

    Photo by Tetiana SHYSHKINA on Unsplash

    High school will take up a lot of your time in the next four years. However, having personal goals you want to achieve is very important. Not only should you grow in academics, but personally too. Remember that you are still living four normal years of your life, so use the time wisely.  You may decide you want to pick up bike-riding, painting, or journaling. Find a plan on how you will incorporate these things into your years. Yes, these activities are fun, but they truly fulfill your happiness and allow you to savor being a teenager. Enjoy your hobbies and grow for you and you only. 

    #5 Extracurricular Activities

    Now, this topic can vary a lot. I know students who are in tons of extracurriculars and are constantly searching for even more. But, I also know students who are in only one or two. And that is okay. It depends on how much work you’re willing to put into them. My overall advice on this – quality over quantity. Narrow down your activities to what you enjoy and value the most. Do not overload yourself with all these activities. For example, you may have to choose between soccer or piano. Remember that you can always pick up activities you dropped in the next summer. Thus, spend some time thinking realistically about what activities you want to do during your freshman year.

    #6 Determine your Most Efficient Studying Technique 

    This summer is the perfect time to determine your personal studying style. It will save you so much stress. Think about your seventh and eight grade year. Did you prefer individual or group studying? Were pictures or words more helpful? Below are a few quizzes to find out your study style. This way– you can use that technique in your freshman year and eliminate worries. 

    http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-quiz.shtml

    https://www.how-to-study.com/learning-style-assessment/

    #7 Get a Notepad or Planner 

    Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

    You will definitely need one of these. Organization is key in your first year of high school, so take the steps to ease the process. Spend time figuring out what you like. From what I’ve seen, most students make a homework list each night. You can organize it by priority to least important. Some students prefer a big, patterned planner with dates and times. And others prefer an online notepad just to make their homework list. Personally, making an online list works best for me. It’s straight to the point and doesn’t take much time to fill. But if you prefer the first option, have fun choosing your favorite colors and designs. It will help you stay motivated to use it. 

    My favorite online notepad: https://www.rapidtables.com/tools/notepad.html

    #8 Prepare for Your Permit Test 

    In the state of Alabama, you can take your permit test when you turn fifteen. Use this summer to study for it! The earlier you learn the concepts, the better. On summer road trips, recognize the road signs and what they mean. Observe how passing lanes work. You will have a whole school year to reinforce the material. Once school begins, you can really take advantage of the drive to and back. And by the time summer comes again, you will be ready to take your test! In some schools, you need your permit to take a driving course (which you most likely will take in tenth grade), so studying will pay off.  You can download apps, study Quizlets, or read directly from the Alabama DMV manual. 

    Quizlet Permit Test (AL): https://quizlet.com/632832695/permit-test-flash-cards/

    That wraps up my list! Even though these things are helpful, remember to enjoy your summer and spend time doing the things you enjoy. Good luck!