How to Keep Learning Over the Summer
Education isn’t something that just happens in the classroom. It happens everywhere. It happens in the student homes. It happens in the band room. It happens on the playing field. It happens all the time.
I’ve found that students are good at what they enjoy—especially outside the classroom. But getting good at something isn’t a matter of just doing it. If you watch an athlete, they understand how all the players are working together. If you watch a musician, they understand how all the parts fit together.
Education is furthering a person’s understanding.
It happens in the morning when we learn to develop time management and how to manage sleep. It happens during the school day when we’re learning in the classroom. It happens at night when we’re doing homework.
But learning also happens over breaks. People see summer as an escape from learning, but we can develop skills during this time as well. I’m a musician, and over the summer, I work on music. It gives me a chance to improve my technique and work on the fundamentals. I don’t have any show music to practice—I just have the desire to get better.
I’m also an avid scholar in mathematics. Math is the language of logic. People always think of math as 2+2=4, but it’s so much more. It’s simply the use of quantifiable observations to come to a conclusion. Everything you do can be expressed in math.
Last summer, I took a three-week course at John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. I studied a branch of mathematics called game theory. We applied numbers to games like chess in order to figure out how to optimize success. We thought we were just playing games until our professor showed us the exact same game we had been playing was perfectly applicable to The Cold War. As students, we didn’t see this as learning. We saw it as a game that was cool because of how it happened in real life.
All students have something they love—something we don’t view as learning when we discover something new.
For instance, if I come across a new music technique, it’s fun to learn. I don’t feel like I’m being forced to learn when I’m doing something to make myself better.
This type of learning is what motivates me to learn over the summer and to work on becoming a smarter student. Learning isn’t a chore, but a way to discover new things and open your eyes to the world.
Jian enrolled at MHS in second grade from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
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