09 Jun Summer Life Skills for College-bound Students
Over a Zoom session with a college-bound senior looking fresh into summer, they were in disbelief at how quickly, with tutoring, camp, and work, summer would pass them by. As they filled in the Google Calendar to work on scheduling and planning, they realized that their senior year and last summer in high school were going to look a lot different than the nostalgic summer breaks they once had.
Before heading off with their family for a summer vacation, it was clear that summer was seemingly shorter and had more responsibilities than open-ended days of bliss. July camps, events, and summer school quickly melt into August when the Common Application officially opens for the new admissions season for seniors.
For all seniors who want to accomplish this in their summer, practicing planning for all seasons with clarity, focus, ease, and grace is essential to our success. The teen was rightly so worried about the activities and commitments, and their focus of the conversation: “Do I have enough time to enjoy my senior year… my last summer?”
Teens and young adults may quickly get emotional; the brain operates this way when we feel someone has planned our summer. When your emerging adult faces a challenge in planning or perspective, we can break it down to support the need for their flexibility and engagement with the decision-making processes.
In this session, I supported the students’ desires for an ideal summer and reflected to them on their specific college goals. This allowed the student to express their concerns and acknowledge their commitment over the summer, despite it may not being their favorite plan. Still, after self-reflection and engagement, they realized after adding their schedule to Google Calendar was more reasonable than they had earlier anticipated.
This is a courageous conversation; no one wants to encourage, beg, or even argue with a teenager about their balance with student responsibility and the priority of their social life. Yet, these are the conversations emerging adults need to have with their parents and support team as they continue to build their toolbox with ‘life skills.’
Life skills are essential to building upon college planning and readiness, especially for today’s emerging adults when students have so many opportunities and access to redo’s, risks, and embrace being ‘resilient.’ These skills bridge the student’s ability to share perspectives, collaborate with different ideas, make informative plans based on facts, and come to rational decisions with understanding and context. When we established this in the conversation, the student was able to be centered, calm, and productive in participating in making both their student responsibilities and social life have a space in their ideal senior summer.
Summer for college-bound students has a different meaning today, as many participate in enrichment opportunities to expand their knowledge, or they need to work with outside support as they brush up on their skills toward their academic goals. In either situation, emerging adults are learning new skills and need to participate in their summer planning for fun and to fulfill the responsibility, giving them a sense of personal agency, meaning, and purpose to their experience.