Summer break is not quite a break at all

Why students have a difficult time taking a break during summer vacation

Julia Nicholson, staff writer

Since 1950, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has continuously tracked the percentage of teenagers who are employed during the summer. This data has shown that student employment rates in the summer have declined steadily since the mid-20th century. Considering that most of my peers have mentioned that they are going to be busy this summer, this came as a surprise to me. However, I’ve realized that the lack of unemployment can be contributed to the rise in other educational opportunities that more and more of my friends are feeling the pressure to take part in.

It’s not that students don’t want to test their skills while working and earn a bit of extra spending money for the weekend—in fact, it seems like having a summer job as a teenager boosts self-morale—but amidst the growing pressures to get involved in summer classes, programs, and trips, more and more students are finding it hard to commit to a steady summer job.

If students don’t have the time during their summer break to earn extra cash, how are they making time to be a teenager and enjoy their summer? If you rewind the clock and sit down to appreciate an old-fashioned summer flick, you’ll rarely find a kid in the entire film who spends even a second of their summer thinking about school. The disparity between the movies and real life can be attributed to the fact that our society is now advancing to an educational system that values competition over learning simply for the desire of learning.

In my opinion, summer break isn’t truly a break. Once a student enters high school, they enter four years of hard work and endless hours of learning that, with homework and extracurriculars, lasts far after the last bell rings. In the summertime, without school five days a week, students are convinced that they must fill that time with other learning opportunities. After entering into an education that students are constantly being told will directly affect our future, there’s no downtime. With so many summer learning options available, and more and more students taking advantage of them, many students believe that if they don’t participate in as many as possible, they won’t have the same offers and opportunities later on.

However, although student summer employment rates are decreasing, they aren’t completely going away. Just like in the past, students are still pressured to look for a job before enjoying a stress-free summer. In one way or another, it all relates back to college. If you can’t participate in summer programs to increase the likelihood of attracting college attention, then you can work to decrease the loans you’ll have to pay.

When high school begins, it doesn’t end until you graduate. There is no real break. With the growing number of opportunities available to students and the increasing level of competitiveness amongst them, many parents and students feel like there’s no time for students to waste. Under the constant stress of college and life in general, what is meant to be a time of relaxation has instead only added to the stress. Goodbye to the endless carnival days, the movie marathon weekends, the day-trips to the beach because once you enter high school, you’re in it until you receive your cap and gown.