Harken back to the good memories of sweet lemonade, the sea breeze and the golden sand of the beach, and intense nap sessions. Summer may be seen as a time for relaxing and having fun, which is true. Furthermore, summer is the essential opportunity to follow your passions and hobbies. During your 3 months of freedom, try to make the most out of it by following your passions and fields of interest. This summer, I attempted to follow my dreams through community service, classes, and private projects at home.

Summer vacation is the essential period of time to explore different fields, and pursue interests and hobbies. Based on common knowledge, Orange County’s diverse community takes part in various extracurricular activities and forms of enjoyment. Scholarly activities may consist of courses taken at universities, internship opportunities, and community service. Summer “vacation” is rarely a vacation anymore, since there is seldom time for relaxation. In 2010, America was ranked as the country with employees that took the “fewest vacation days”. Furthermore, productivity in summer is critical to a successful future. Despite this, relaxation must also be taken into deep consideration.

Enrolling in a Java summer camp was the first step to my productive summer vacation. Previously, I had coding experience with Python, C, HTML, and C++. I wanted to expand my knowledge in the area of computer science, and learn multiple languages. Learning how to code in Java was an extremely structural experience, as the compiler the class used color-coded the components of the program. It opened a clear path to my visual understanding of the language.
Mr. Gene Wie, the instructor of the Java class, was a humorous man that kept the class upbeat and paying attention. His eagerness in teaching ultimately led to the class’s high ambitions for completing challenging assignments. Java taught me to break apart my code into separate functions and code them bit by bit. This was highly efficient compared to looking at the big picture, as I had previously done. This lesson actually influenced the steps of my science fair project, which I also had worked on during the summer. I had tried to imagine the big picture, and had gotten nowhere. After the Java class, I realized I had to take a small step forward, and build onto that.

On the side, I proceeded to take coding classes online through Khan Academy, Code Academy, and CS50 eX course online. I completed problem sets and paced myself, building on my C and Python skills.

During the summer, I worked on an engineering project based off the Arduino circuit board, which I had also done during my 8th grade year. The project focused on a cardiovascular monitoring system for the elderly, using the electrocardiogram, pulse oximetry, and heart-rate as analysis. Inspired by my grandparent’s condition, I wish to create a cost-efficient and reliable product for unaffording consumers. Considering the fact that smartphones are key tool to daily life, I plan to make an app compatible with the mechanism.

As a member of OC Coder, I volunteered and helped young children in elementary school how to code in Scratch, a tool developed by MIT. The language basically consists of colorful blocks and “sprites”, created as a tool to educate kids in the fundamentals of coding. It certainly worked, as the kids were enthusiastic and understood the concepts easily. The volunteers had lots of fun with helping out the kids, and learned a few things as well. This gift of volunteering is the feeling of self-accomplishment and service to the community. I would highly recommend scholars to follow their passions in volunteering through the Math for Service Organization.

Summer vacation is a great opportunity to explore new fields and get a feel for your passion for certain subjects. Some parents may be pushy, forcefully enrolling unwilling students in challenging courses. For all the teens and students out there, my advice is this: always try new things out, even if they may not seem appealing at first. If you don’t enjoy it, then you can drop it. Do many activities that interest you, whether it is a class, or community service in that matter. Consider the following: Do you really want to be stuck with something you hate doing your entire life? When your next summer or break comes around, take the opportunity and build on what you love to do.