Great Activities to do this Summer!
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Reading, Colleges Visit, and Adventure Camps are good summer activities for students.

Below are a couple activities that I would recommend for every student to do this summer. Although many students are partaking in various academic endeavors this summer, they should also remember to relax and have fun!

Summer Reading

1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This is one of my favorite books. Don’t be fooled by the simplistic design of the book, the imagery and words actually carry a deeper message that is open to interpretation. Here is a little synopsis from Wikipedia: The Little Prince is a poetic tale, with watercolour illustrations by the author, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The story is philosophical and includes social criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world.

2. The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
Technically this is a children’s novel, but the story line is great. It’s an easy read and therefore a must during the summer. This book is about friendship and how a group of friends work together to bring back a significant part of their hometown. I personally find it inspirational. Students should read this book and consider how they can make their world a better place. Also, it’s very charming. Highly recommended, if you don’t read anything from this list, consider this one.

3. Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
If you’re a Tina Fey fan, I think you’ll enjoy this book. Her humor comes alive as she tells the story of her childhood and introduces you to her world. This book moves quickly and generally you don’t have to read it sequentially meaning chapter to chapter but you can peruse it as you see fit. It was on the New York Times Bestseller list and it’s humorous. So, I suggest finding it at the library and spending a quiet Sunday afternoon reading this comedy.

4. The Glass Castle
This book is about a girl who grows up in unique circumstances with unconventional parents. Some of the events in the book are so strange that it makes me wonder if it truly is a biography. Nonetheless, I recommend this book because it’s rather motivational. The girl grows up in poverty but her growth isn’t stunted and rather enhanced by her upbringing I’d argue. I hope that if you pick it up, you’ll enjoy it as much I did.

5. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Technically, you could just watch the YouTube video of the last lecture but reading this book allows you to pace yourself and figure out what it is that you really want out of life. Most students ponder what to do in the future but forget that what they do in the present moment actually has a lot of impact too. This book is a good reminder to deeply ponder what are they key things we want out of life and to reach for it.

Colleges to Visit in the Summer

1. Local UC’s
There are three great UC’s near the Bay Area: UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC Santa Cruz. Well, technically 4 but unfortunately UCSF only takes graduate students. UC’s are great to visit during the summer because there are fewer students on campus. It’s much easier to navigate the campus because the hustle and bustle of college students rushing to class during the school year doesn’t happen at the same intensity during the summer. I personally would visit UC Davis towards the beginning of June because it can get sweltering hot in the middle of summer. As for UC Berkeley and Santa Cruz, visiting anytime will work.

2. Local Private Schools
Stanford, Notre Dame De Namur, University of San Francisco, Mills, Santa Clara University, and Saint Mary’s College are all relatively close by. If you are highly considering private schools, I would visit them all. Every campus is unique and you might be surprised by interesting facts you’ll learn about each school during a campus tour.

3. Local CSU’s
Lastly, Sonoma State, Sacramento State, SF State, San Jose State and CSU East Bay are the five CSU’s closest to us. They all offer different things. I would say that my favorite campus out of these five is Sonoma State. When I visited as a high school student, I remember the campus tour distinctly. At the time, I really wanted to know more about pre-med and during the tour I learned that Sonoma State has a decent pre-med program with a high acceptance rate into medical school out of college. So, just like you don’t want to judge a book by its’ cover, you shouldn’t judge a school based on name recognition alone.

Adventure Camps – for the explorer in you

If there is time in your busy summer schedule, consider doing an adventure camp. I’ve seen kids and adults benefit from challenging their bodies and mind physically. Pushing ourselves to doing things that is seemingly impossible and achieving it is such a great experience that everyone should have. It comes in handy when you are in college with three ten page papers to write and five finals to study for and you can look back at an equally or more tough experience to keep pushing through.

1. Outward Bound
This program pushes students to continuously achieve. You’ll put yourself in various challenging physical situations that will make you want to give up but the best part is that if you keep pushing and finish, you’ll feel like nothing can hold you back. It’s as much of a physical exercise as it is a mental one.

2. Wilderness Ventures
This program is much more relaxed than the one above, but you’ll be learning new outdoor skills that could come in handy. It also promises to increase confidence and selflessness because you will be working in teams.

3. Adventure Treks
Similar to the above programs, but the main difference is the length. Some of their programs run 24 days long and it is challenging. It also promises to increase self-reliance and confidence.

By ThinkTank Learning Consultant