Our Youth

Let Them Speak: Five Ways To Create A Fantastic Summer on a Small Budget

Research on U.S. teens’ shopping behavior found that spending was up 6 percent, with more time spent online shopping, according to a 2018 report by the investment firm Piper Jaffray. Consumers under the age of 24 preferred retail websites like Amazon, Nike, American Eagle and Urban Outfitters. (Photo: Melissa Enaje)

By Kene Nzelu

Well, it’s that time of the year again! It’s summer time and that means you have no school for two months! You’re really excited to be off from school, but when you hear about all the amazing things that your friends will do this summer, you start to wonder what you’re going to do. Maybe you’re on a low budget or your parents have to work all summer and you can’t travel. There’s no need to worry, though, because I will share my advice on what to do with your summer.


I also have to find ways to keep myself busy, so the advice that I give you is advice that I am also going to follow myself.

I think it’s really important to remember that you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people.

In this day and age, it’s really easy to compare yourself to others and think of all the ways you think their summer is so much better than yours.

It’s important not to do this because this can prevent you from enjoying your own summer.

Don’t think about how to have a summer that all your friends will be jealous of. Instead, think about how to have the summer that you will enjoy.

1.Spend less time on social media this summer

This can really help. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t look at social media at all, I’m just saying that you could look at it less and focus on finding things to do this summer.

You can use that same phone that you use to look at your friend’s Instagram to research free or inexpensive summer programs (more on that later) that your city offers. You can also call your friends and ask them if they want to hang out with you. Trust me, this really works.

I personally have no social media accounts and I love it. I feel free and I don’t feel pressure to keep up streaks or comment on a picture posted on someone’s Instagram. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. When I tell kids at my school this, they get really surprised, but at the same time, they say that it’s actually a good thing. They wish that they could get off social media themselves. I won’t get too much into it, but spending too much time on social media can cause depression and anxiety.

According to BBC News, a 2017 study by the Royal Society of Public Health “suggested that Snapchat and Instagram were the most likely to inspire feelings of inadequacy and anxiety”(BBC News).

2. Google is your best friend

Research, Research, Research! Like I mentioned in my first tip, you can research free and inexpensive summer programs on the Internet.

Many local colleges, universities, and organizations in New York City offer free and affordable summer programs. These programs can help you discover your passions, career interests and hobbies. For example, New York University offers summer programs for high schoolers and middle schoolers.

Some of these programs are on the expensive side, but there are some that are free or at least offer financial aid. These affordable programs come really in handy because they give you something to do at no price or a low one. NYC museums and other businesses offer many internships for high school students and even for middle school students. What’s even better is that some of these internships are paid, so you can get some extra cash!

A good website to search for internships on is internships.com, but your school might even have a list of internship opportunities on their website.

3. Give Back

Volunteer! There are so many volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is a great thing to do because you can give back to your community while gaining experience. Also, if your school requires you to do community service, sometimes they might allow you to use summer volunteer work as community service for your first quarter.

There are are all sorts of ways you can help your community. You can clean up your local park, spend time with the elderly at a retirement home, bring meals to people who are homebound, help out in a soup kitchen, and so much more. It can be an amazing experience to go out and find volunteer opportunities. They can help you get closer to the people around you and make you more independent.

4. Make up a schedule of daily activities

This tip is especially useful for people who are very organized. If you like the idea of doing certain activities at certain times like the format of many summer camps, but you can’t go to summer camp this summer, you can make your own schedule at home and fill it with your favorite activities.

You can schedule exercising in the morning, going to the beach in the afternoon, and doing your summer assignments in the evening. Making schedules is really helpful. It helps you do everything you need to do. If you’re the kind of person that likes a busy summer, this may be the right method for you.

5. Just Relax

I know that you just came out from school and that you might want to just sit down and watch T.V. As long as you get your summer work done, I don’t see anything wrong with this. Of course, don’t watch T.V. the whole day, but definitely make sure you relax this summer because once you go back to school, you won’t get as much time as you have now to relax.

Use this summer to your advantage and take a minute to take a deep breath. It’s absolutely great to have an action packed summer, but that’s not for everyone. Even if you are the type of person that likes a busy summer, take out time to rest. This will be really good for you. Take it from me, I make out time to do productive things with my summer, but I also definitely make out enough time to relax. To relax, I usually find myself watching Netflix or YouTube or dancing to my favorite songs.

I hope all of you have a great summer!

Nzelu is a rising junior at Xaverian H.S., Bay Ridge.


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