Summer for me this year has been full of firsts, and has been completely different from any summer before it. I’m going to talk about some stand-out parts of my summer, and a bit of what I’ve been up to!
As some of you may or may not know, I was working machine this summer. I’d been working for my neighborhood YMCA branch as a lifeguard since last August, but I’d decided that I didn’t want to spend another summer sweltering in the sunlight. I switched within the aquatics department to be a swim instructor, and have absolutely fallen in love with the job. I get to hang out with kids aged 3-13 all day, with an adult or two mixed in. I’ve met kids who light up my day, who tell me “You’re my favorite swim teacher!” and that makes me GLOW. It’s been especially interesting for me because after being a competitive swimmer for long, I’m finally using the knowledge I’ve gained to help other people. I’ve also learned countless lessons as a swim instructor: patience, how to reprimand kids, how to teach kids social behaviors (like you don’t insult people or laugh at them when they mess up), and that no job is solely the job description. Being a swim instructor is part teaching kids how to swim, part life skills teacher, and part babysitter. But it’s also one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had, and I’ve been blessed with an incredible staff and great kids.
I’ve also been working in my first retail job at Barnes and Noble! It’s been nice to go from the Y, where I’m outside and in a bathing suit, to an indoor air-conditioned building where I’m wearing business casual clothing. My managers and co-workers are a joy to work with and make work way more fun. I’ve been able to sell THREE copies of Jellicoe Road, and a couple other YA books I adore, as well as make multiple staff recommendation cards for the teen section. I’ve learned the skill of using a cash register, how to make small talk, how to deal with customers who complain about store policies, and the beauty of saying “Let me get my manager for you.” I’ve been able to work in the Children’s department and help parents pick out books for their middle school kids, and suggest gifts for people visiting family. I’ve learned what it’s like to work for a national company, and all the benefits it gives you (I can transfer when I go to college!)
But one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from both of my jobs has been confidence. I feel like I’ve grown up more in the past three months from these two jobs than I have doing anything else. I feel more confident asking for what I need, sharing my thoughts, and talking to adults than ever before. I’m so thankful I was able to work both of these jobs this summer, and that I’ll be continuing employment with both of these incredible places of work!
I’ve been learning Italian this summer! I was taking an online class from Wellesley College, and although I wasn’t able to finish (I simply did NOT have enough time and they way overestimated how long everything would take) the course gave me a fantastic base in the language. A background in French has been incredibly helpful in learning a lot of the grammatical rules and some nouns, and I’m starting to see how all these languages fit together. Since I’ve given up on my Wellesley class at this point, I’ve started doing Duolingo! If you are interested in learning a language and haven’t checked out Duolingo, I would DEFINITELY recommend it. They have both a web app and a mobile app, and although both are great, the web app is fantastic. There are some more features on it that make the learning experience even better! The way they set up lessons on Duolingo works so well for my brain. You go through mini-modules (pronouns, animals, possession, food, etc) and there are four or five blocks in each module. The blocks only take like five minutes, and you can get through a ton of material fairly quickly, something I adore. You learn nouns in context (there’s never straight vocab) so you get an idea of how to use words, there’s an oral component, translation, and the option to test out of lessons if you already know them.
I’m hoping to take some conversational Italian classes this year outside of school, and study Italian in college – I’m so much more passionate about it than French, which is so weird to me. I’m also learning at a much faster rate, which baffles me. Yay for Italian!
READING & BLOGGING
Sadly, I haven’t gotten as much reading done this summer as I had hoped. I was so busy with work, Italian, and spending time with my best friend before she goes off to Princeton in the fall *sobs violently in the corner* that reading wasn’t on the top of my list. I still read some incredible books though, and even got reviews up! This has made me SO proud – I’ve had at least three posts up EVERY WEEK this summer. GOOOO ME! I’m hoping to keep up my content amount through the year, but I’m thinking it will go down due to my course load. I’d hoped to get some reading and reviews together for the start of the year, but with the amount of summer reading I still have to do *cries* I am not sure it’s going to happen.
(Plus, I reread Jellicoe Road for my birthday. As you do.)
Since I’ll be a senior this year, I’ve also spent a lot of time this summer thinking about college. I’ve gotten my list down to about thirteen schools (I’m still narrowing it down – don’t worry, I’m not crazy!) and I’m passionate about the schools on my list. I’ve drafted some essays *cough cough* only two *cough cough* and thanks to my incredible school, I’ve already applied to community college and gotten my ApplyTexas and CommonApp applications fairly ready to go! I’m so pumped for the coming year and college application journey.
As I’m writing this, I’m getting ready to go to Boston! I leave for Boston on the 13th of August, and come back the 17th (when this goes up). I’ll be visiting four colleges while I’m there, eating pizza and ice cream, and frolicking around museums with my incredible mom. I’ve never been to Boston before, so I’m incredibly excited to see the city!
SUMMER 2015 VS. PREVIOUS SUMMERS
What’s been different this summer? A lot. It’s the first summer where I’ve been able to drive, the first summer in a couple years where I haven’t had club swimming practices every day, and my first summer where I was working the entire time. I’ve spent barely any time at home aimlessly looking at my computer (which I’m proud of) and I’ve been hanging out with my friends more. I’ve been eating healthy, focusing on being happy, and taking care of myself! So, in addition to all the things up above, it’s been a happy summer.
I’ll miss you, summer!
What have you guys done this summer? Share your summer highlights in the comments below – I want to know!