Skipping the Tan and Making a Plan

Alexa VanHooser, Reporter

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The second the final bell rings, students stream out the doors and into the first day of summer. For most, summer symbolizes a period of idyllic relaxation, sun-bathing, and forgetting 90% of recent course curriculum.

However, for a select few, summer symbolizes a period for growth and further enhancement of their previous year. Students in this category flock to STEM summer camps, rather than the opening ceremony of Wild Waters. So, why the change?

Students oftentimes participate in summer programs not only to expand their horizons, but to gain experience in potential career fields. Rather than finding themselves stuck in a major that disinterests them, proactive students vie for a spot in certain summer programs at prestigious universities.

Diego Lopez, a junior, is doing just that. Lopez is applying to MIT’s Engineering Summer Program which gives students hands-on experience in the field, as well as gives them a taste of what college life is like.

“I want to be an engineer, but I’m not sure which type yet,” said Lopez. “This is a very prestigious program and it’s free if I get accepted. I’m hoping this hands-on experience helps me figure out which type of engineering I’m passionate about.”

In California, UC schools offer similar programs to cut travel costs and host potential alumni. AJ Patel, a senior, decided to change his surroundings and determine his potential major by attending UC Santa Barbara’s summer intensive.

“I spent a week there,” Patel said. “While I was there, there were various meetings, learning experiences, and lectures to take advantage of.”

For students who seek a drastic change in scenery, the ability to travel the globe in the span of a few weeks entices many teenagers when considering one summer experience over the other. Several students on the Clovis High campus are no stranger to this appeal, choosing to participate in the Sister Cities Program in Munster, Germany.

Molly Hedrick, a junior at Clovis High, attended the program last summer. Hedrick recalls hearing amazing stories about the trip, but decided to experience it for herself.

“I would definitely recommend this if you could do it; my exchange partner’s family took me around Europe, and when she came here, I showed her all around California,” added Hedrick. “ I wanted to do it to learn more about the world and get more information, because I want to live in Europe.”

At Clovis High, it’s common for former German students to seek a further immersion into German culture through this program. Senior Carlene Christensen is no exception.

“I transferred to Clovis High my sophomore year,” said Christensen. “I took German class and German Club junior year, and [decided to participate] because I wanted to see my heritage and what it was like.”

Regardless of the motive behind their decision, the chance to participate in a summer program can be an enriching opportunity for attendees.

These programs also offer a taste of independence most don’t receive until freshman year of college. After gaining experience in career-related programs, students are able to decide what interests them, what makes them nauseous, and what they actually intend on pursuing.


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Skipping the Tan and Making a Plan