A college education in your summer vacation

How to make the next few months count

The semester is over, and summer is in and all we want to think about is our vacations, parties, relaxing on the beach etc except those that are attending summer school. I used to always hate school, and when summer came around I had a thrill of throwing out notes, oversleeping, play video games and doing whatever I want. Now looking back, I am still angry and upset how 20+ years of my life has been wasted in a bad education system when I could have been out learning practical skills.

As I am writing from my all inclusive three-star resort (can’t afford more) in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic I have been motivated to hit the books and educate myself through my experience here. When you are going on any trip there is a lot to plan. How much will you be spending on flight, hotel, lodge, food, transportation, activities etc? What are my options for a cheaper and better travel package to be productive with my time? In addition one needs to be aware of the weather, clothing to pack, weight and variety of stuff to take. As a gay/trans individual I had to research the country’s views and culture towards gay people. Where am I safe to be myself and express openly? Is there an open gay community? Am I obliged to wear “male” clothing to be safe? Do I need to hide who I am? As much as I am wearing at times nail polish, lipstick, a skirt or even just pink shorts, the hypermasculinity amongst the natives does add to the discrimination and disrespect that I face here. All of this planning requires math, reasoning, researching, and other skills.

IMG_4779

I am motivated to further my linguistic skills in Spanish as it is vital to living and getting around this country. I hope to master other languages in the future that will give me a leg up in my social, academic, and professional life. My father is a translator by trade and speaks, writes, and reads fluently 9 languages. My dad is constantly watching foreign films, news, books, and practicing with people. My father’s linguistics skills provides him access to so many doors like resources, networking, and clients. Students who study languages I believe should only pursue it if they plan to live abroad or work with a population that speaks the language. It is easy to lose the language when you are not surrounded by similar speakers.

People do not realize how much can be accomplished in a few minutes, hours etc. Whenever I have a break, waiting/riding the train etc I am constantly reading articles on my phone, research and applying to scholarships online, and constantly filling my calendar with free A list activities.

IMG_4774

In the past two years alone since starting at college, I have produced a documentary where I won awards for “Best Documentary” by 6 film festivals and counting, one being HBO. I write for numerous national and international publications including The Tab Hunter and The Times of Israel. I have had over 25 art exhibitions at various nyc galleries one being “The Bronx Museum of Art” which will be open all of Summer 2016. I have won numerous scholarships, and fellowships and have been flown for free to Israel, Boston, Washington D.C and working on the rest of the world. Even with all my efforts I am so angry that I have not done more to become a working slave.

I am so lucky to be living in New York City, one of the most resourceful cities in the world. There is no excuse for students not to be able to find opportunities to fill up their summer time. Everyone should apply to internships especially fields you are interested in but might not have a chance later. I am a media studies major, but last summer I was a fellow for a urban landscaping firm and now have another option for a career.

IMG_4772

There are numerous foundations, non profits, free workshops all across NYC that has millions of dollars saved to invest in students like you and me. There is no reason one should pay for an art class, have an unpaid internships, or have no events to attend all day. If you have any trouble finding something I would be more than happy to help. Like my Facebook pages “Resume/Cover Letters 4 You” and “Opportunities 4 You” which were made to ease your search for opportunities, job prep and more in NYC.

Just because you have money to spend, does not mean you should be saving. I have wasted thousands of dollars over many summers on junk food, restaurants, entertainment etc. I try to eat at home and prepare my meals for work and class. If you are really thrifty, save your receipts at fast food chains and places like Rite-Aid to gain free food and perks.

One does not need money to have great fun in NYC. If you have an IDNYC card you can have over a year’s access for free to majority of city wide’s attractions. Every museum has a free admission on certain nights. During the summer “Museum Mile” and “Night at the Museums” opens the doors of all museums for free. Timeout NY is my best friend. The magazine is available for free on Wednesdays throughout the city, you can always find free art, film, gay, theater, sports etc events. If you don’t have books to read, movies to watch, then start applying to scholarships and draft your essays for submission.

IMG_4731

One major con of always working your mind and body is not taking enough time to relax. My main challenge in life is to relax. I like going to nature and sunny areas when I can to practice meditation and let go of the world around me. Meditation and exercise is scientifically proven to improve your studying, as well as other aspects of your life.

No matter what or how you spend your summer, I hope you have one filled with educational experiences and remember to BE, BE, PRODUCTIVE!

More
Hunter College