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Summer Bummer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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At some point every teen's parents ask what we plan to do during the summer. We respond “nothing.” For us it's simple. Sleeping in 'til noon, watching TV, swimming, hanging with friends, throwing parties, and staying up late is what we plan to do. We work hard all year, and this is our break. Shouldn't we spend it the way we want?

Our parents always crash our dreams. This year they gave me a choice: babysit, work in the fields, or find another job. I wanted a job that didn't involve suffering in the corn fields, so I applied at various places from McDonald's to the library.

Secretly, I didn't want to get a job. The idea scared me, and it took me some time to realize why. Sure, I'd be making money and meeting new people, but I was scared to take that leap: to begin my life as a young adult and start to support myself. I was scared to take on too much responsibility, maybe work during the school year and watch my grade point average slip. I was scared to have my freedom fly away before my eyes as I watched my perfectly planned schedule spin out of my control. I was worried I'd be expected to start paying for school supplies and other necessities or pleasures. Most of all, I didn't want to waste my summer, and be too busy to see friends or miss the chance to sleep in.

When I was little, I enjoyed all the comforts of home and didn't worry about anything. I was free to do what I pleased. I swam, rode my bike, played soccer, and went to the park whenever I wanted.

This summer, I was determined to be lazy and carefree. When I realized this was no longer an option, I became more aware of all the things I hadn't taken time to enjoy when I was young. I should have slept in instead of waking up at 8 a.m. I should have thrown more parties, hung out more with friends, taken advantage of that hot sun, and gotten dirty like crazy.

Now when I see little kids, I want to scream at them to take it all in, to be glad for the chance to stay home and be bored, because it won't last forever. It's true what they say: we don't realize what we have until it's gone.

When I finally did land a job, I was lucky: I work at a summer camp. Sure, it's early hours and I have a headache by the end of the day, but I get to help kids create wonderful summer memories, and remind myself what it's like to be carefree during the summer.

As for the rest of the year, I'll be sticking to the job of being a student. It was a big step taking a summer job, but I don't think I'm ready to work all year long. I'm not ready to give up after-school activities or sleepovers or even my TV schedule. Not just yet. My whole life's ahead of me. I'll get the experience and make more money when I'm ready to reprioritize. Parents should trust that teens will get motivated to enter the working world soon enough, but we need time to veg out and chill while we still can. It's all part of life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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Kenziemcm13 said...
Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm:
My parents are making me get a job this summer too.... I don't want to it will be a major step. Plus I will have to keep it all year. I am actually hoping I don't get hired. :/
 
greeny7 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm :
Hi Kenzie, I posted this article quite a while ago and actually ended up getting a job at staples, which I maintained from grade 110-12 and throughout my first year of university. I wanted to reassure you that getting a job is not as horrible as it seems. I actually learned a lot, developed some great skills, made new friends, and was able to buy some really cool things with the money I made. Furthermore, it has helped me gain so much experience, which also helped me land a job as a camp counsel... (more »)
 
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