By Nate Rudman
Illustration by Sandra Moore
That their summer is limited is obvious to most South Pasadena students. The time given to students each summer, however, is invaluable, as it can be used to pursue interests that are often pushed to the side by the demanding time commitment of getting good grades, or being the king of the social hierarchy, or being a star athlete for the track team, or all at once. Summer gives people time to enter writing contests, attend leadership conferences or basketball camps, play gigs, learn to cook, or expand their education outside of what school can offer.
Summer is also a key time to relax. Stress from the school year can build up, and without proper time to allow the mind to drift far away from the strains of school. Summer homework, however, trip off the brain’s stress centers and set back the process of unknotting the brain needs to maintain prime mental productivity, as well as overall happiness. For South Pasadena students with busy summers full of camps, travel, writing, conferences, or gigs, summer work distracts from valuable and sometimes entirely unique experiences and opportunities.
The purpose of summer work is to retain momentum from the previous year of schooling, and continue their studies in specific topics. To contrast, the nature of summer work hinders the ability of curious students to achieve a more holistic education. Schools restrict students’ areas of knowledge in order to provide education to large numbers of people, however a lack of diversity in knowledge can be crippling in an economy that is constantly changing.
Many creative careers require people to have knowledge across many fields, in order for them to have many points of reference to be able to innovate from. Rappers, for example, should be fluent in language, rhythm, history, and culture. Football players need to be well practised athletes, but knowledge in physics and team psychology can also help give players an edge, and the same can be said of many other sports. Video game designers should have an extensive knowledge of literature, history, culture, on top of knowledge in coding and how to create good character models.
The public school system already heavily restricts students’ options for the type of education they receive. This is fair, considering it provides a free service to millions of Americans every year. Still, South Pasadena should compensate for the restrictions by allowing and even encouraging students to pursue opportunities over the summer they can’t receive from the school. Schools should encourage a well rounded education, not stymie it with more work that stresses students and distracts them from their passions and pursuits. Students should be aided by their school to expand their horizons, not restrict them, and curiosity should always be cultivated.