From a Teen’s Perspective: Summer activities

by Dylan Lanier on May 15, 2023

This summer, like many of my friends, I’m completely booked. Summer programs, camp counseling, college apps — I barely have a free week! And while I’m excited to be busy, I’m worried that I’ll miss out on that classic summer freedom instilled in my dreams by 80’s coming-of-age movies.

While rigid schedules can provide successful results, I think my generation is missing out on the serendipitous experience of finding things you love by accident. However, I also think that we can restore some of that necessary teenage exploration with conscious effort. I’m keeping a list of the things I still want to do despite my crammed schedule, and I thought I would share that with you today.

1. Create a Crafts-terpiece: So often we only work towards goals that provide instrumental goods, like winning awards or building your resumé. This summer, I want to make one thing for the sole purpose of bringing me pride. Whether it’s completing a painting, planting a garden, or writing a song, I want to create something that gives me a sense of accomplishment despite not being “valuable” to school, college, or other common teenage pressures.

2. Find a New Path: Getting outdoors is always refreshing, but walking the same trails and biking the same roads can get rather dull. So this summer, I want to find a new route for activity, be it a beautiful hike up in the hills or a running trail I make up as I go. Not only is it a fun and rewarding way to spend a bit of your day, but it can break you out of the same old routine.

3. Useless Learning: I want to learn something that I would never, ever learn in school. Maybe it’s becoming an expert bottle flipper, or perfecting the recipe for an apple pie. I want to end the summer with a new skill I learned just because I think it’s cool. Too often we focus only on the things we think — or are told — that we should learn, even if our interests lie elsewhere. I want to use the summer to cultivate those interests that don’t get enough time and attention during the school year.

4. Reserve Time for Friends: It’s all too common for teens to spend their summer without seeing friends from school. Travel, work, and differing schedules make it hard to meet up with the people you spent the entire school year with. It’s always a bummer to miss out on potential summer memories with them, so this summer I’m trying my best to schedule time with all my friends. Even if it’s just a coffee date once a month, I want to maintain my relationships that always provide laughter and connection.

I understand if my readers cringe at the thought of “wasting time” with the above activities — trust me, it’ll be hard for me, too. But I’m tired of only working to accomplish goals that matter to my future but don’t enrich my life in the present. This summer is all about balancing my exciting yet taxing activities with those that simply bring me joy.

I wish you the best wherever your summer may take you, and hope you all squeeze in time to do things simply because they’re fun.

From a Teen’s Perspective is a weekly column contributed by Menlo-Atherton High School Junior Dylan Lanier, who has lived in Menlo Park since he was two.

Photo of teens by Helena Lopez

One Comment

Diane Flynn May 15, 2023 at 8:29 pm

I wish for you all of those things! They are beautiful and so important to finding happiness and fulfillment. Thank you for sharing.

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