I’ve decided that vacation is for wimps. Gone are the days of summer camp and outings to the beach. As a rising senior in high school, I plan to make this summer as resume-worthy as possible. It’s the last summer before college application season and I want to take advantage of that. Yes, it’s come to a point where all my decisions revolve around college admissions, including my dietary habits. If I have a greater shot at getting into my dream school by subscribing to a gluten free lifestyle, then: goodbye pasta! So, this summer’s agenda includes writing all my college essays, teaching myself a new coding language, writing a couple of award-winning novels, starting (and finishing) my senior thesis project and completing an impressive internship, all in the span of ten weeks.
Finding an internship as a high-school student proved harder than I thought. As I scoured LinkedIn for potential internships, I realized that most of the internship posts required the candidate to be enrolled in college. Realizing I did not have the privilege of discriminating job posts based on my field of interest, I moved on to Plan B and applied to any post that did not specify a high-school diploma was required. Even after applying to forty-something jobs, I only heard back from three companies, two of which rejected me. I’m still waiting on that third job. If that company is reading this—you know who you are—please know I would love to work for you.
If this internship falls through, then I will probably spend more time writing those award-winning novels. Really, I only want these books published so I could add this accomplishment to my college application. Forget internal satisfaction: if it’s not going to make college admissions officers happy, then it’s simply not worth pursuing.
Many people falsely assume that they must “save the whales” if they want to get into a top college. But you don’t need to do that: just get a few Nobel Prizes to your name and you should be fine.
This summer is crucial to my college application because if I don’t get rolling on these novels, the biggest accomplishment on my resume will be my expertise in vegetable cutting. (Not that vegetable cutting isn’t an impressive skill, I just hope to make my resume more well-rounded.)
Honestly, I think the greatest force that is driving teens to accomplish the extraordinary is their college application. It’s why writing contests get ten thousand submissions and it’s why my friends and I are always looking for opportunities to study together and deem it “peer tutoring.” We all want to be the applicant that colleges drool over. We want to apply knowing that colleges would be ridiculous not to accept us. Even if I don’t get around to those novels or Nobel Prizes, I know that I would make a great addition to any college. But I’m still going to write those novels, just in case.
Yet, after researching what colleges expect from an applicant’s summer, I discovered that many colleges appreciate applicants who had a fun and enjoyable summer. Suddenly, those vacation ideas of hiking with friends, counting seashells, checking out the museums and going to concerts sound intriguing. Maybe I might just have to vacation after all.
Chani Shulman is a rising senior at Manhattan High School for Girls. She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.
Fresh Ink for Teens is an online magazine written by, and for, Jewish students from high schools around the world.