Avoid FOMO, Take Summer Classes with AoPS
May 15, 2019
As spring fever takes hold, you’re probably sitting there daydreaming through your classes about endless summer days, when the most important decisions you’ll have to make are which snacks to eat and what Netflix series to binge. We get it. We’ve all been there.
But, as is true with most things, the illusion of a responsibility-free summer is often way better than reality.
Don’t buy it? Check out Scooter’s story below. It’s completely true.
Pay attention to…the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).
Scooter’s Summer: A True Story about FOMO
It was finally here. The most glorious day of the entire year. The day all kids spend nine months dreaming about: the last day of school.
After the final bell rang, the halls flooded with kids jockeying for position as they sprinted through the doors into the radiant sunshine, smiles wide, papers flying, tossing their cares aside. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of leaving a school year behind and staring down three months of nothing but free time.
Honestly, the last day of school should be a national holiday.
Scooter fell in step alongside his best pals as they boarded their bus home. They found seats in the back, and Scooter sighed a deep sigh of pure contentment as they rode toward a summer of freedom.
“I’m so happy it’s finally summer. No school, no teachers, no homework. It’s going to be great, guys. What should we do tomorrow? The world is our oyster!”
“I know, right? So great, man. I’d love to do something tomorrow, but we’re headed to India first thing in the morning to visit family. Then we’re going to travel all over Europe and Asia. I won’t actually be back until the week before school starts,” Raj explained. He and Scooter had been best friends since they were 6. Scooter just stared at Raj, mouth agape.
“How did you not tell me this?!” Scooter exclaimed incredulously.
“I’ve been talking about it since January, dude. You’re seriously the worst listener.” Raj rolled his eyes and started playing a game on his phone.
“Whatever. What about you, Elena?” Scooter turned in his seat to look at his other best friend, “Want to hang out tomorrow?”
Elena was intermittently glancing out the window and scribbling furiously in a notebook, undoubtedly scrawling observations for one of her stories.
“Nah, I can’t. I’ve got to finish up a story I’ve been working on before all of my camps kick in. I’ve got everything from gymnastics to art to programming camps and more this summer. I think I’m fully booked until school starts back up again, too. Sorry, Scooter.”
“Fine. I hope you know that you’re both making some serious mistakes with your summer plans, though. I’m doing it right. I’ve got nothing on the books. Not one single thing. It’s going to be great. Really, really great.” Scooter crossed his arms across his chest and slouched down in his seat. Elena and Raj shrugged at one another and went back to writing and game playing.
6 weeks later, 1:00 PM on a Tuesday
A pajama-clad Scooter licked his fingers, polishing off his fifth twinkie of the day. Scooter had easily put on five pounds since the start of summer. Normally a sharp kid, he could feel his mind starting to turn to mush, too. It had taken him a solid minute to figure out 8 x 7 the other day. He’d done nothing but take naps, eat snacks, and watch TV for weeks now. Most of the time, he wasn’t aware of the month, day, or even what time it was. Scooter rolled over on the couch, snack wrappers crinkling underneath him, and grabbed his phone.
He decided to scroll through his social media accounts to see what his friends were up to. Lately, he’d found himself doing this constantly. It dawned on him as he looked at pictures of Raj posing in front of the Taj Mahal, eating fish and chips in London, and brandishing a certificate for passing some online math class, that perhaps he himself was the one who had made some mistakes with his summer plans.
He continued scrolling and spied videos of Elena practicing cool tricks at gymnastics camp and a picture of her with her arms around her classmates on the last day of her creative writing camp. Scooter started to feel jealous. He realized that his freedom and relaxation were really just boredom and isolation—and besides that, he was missing opportunities to have fun, get smarter, and experience new things.
He should’ve made plans!
He should’ve signed up for camps and classes!
Maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t too late.
Don’t Summer Classes Defeat the Whole Point of Summer?
I know what you’re thinking.
“Scooter had the right idea! Why on earth would anyone want to take more school when school’s out for the summer?”
Look at Scooter’s story. He’s bored, he’s losing his edge, and his friends are discovering whole new worlds that he’s not getting a chance to explore. Sure, he’s binging on all the Netflix he could ever want—but he’s also going to be behind compared to his friends by the time they get back to school. He’ll have to play catch up while they charge ahead, and chances are, they’ll end up in more advanced classes than he will.
Good thing he can tell you every major plot point in all the Marvel movies Netflix was streaming over the summer; that’s sure to help him on his next test…
Don’t want to end up like Scooter this summer? Well then, read on.
First of all, everything about summer classes is cool (really!). But specifically, there are obvious academic and social benefits to taking summer classes.
Most importantly, you’ll be a trendsetter: it’s cool to be smart.
Gone are the days where ignorance was the stuff that made you popular. No more are we trapped in a bad 80’s movie, with the cool kids wearing leather jackets and stuffing nerds in lockers. (And thank goodness we don’t have to rely on mullets, perms, and maximum hair spray to look cool.)
You already know it’s true. Smart is the new black.
Spending three months spaced out like a zombie isn’t going to do you any favors in the smarts department. Academic summer classes allow you to sharpen the saw—they’re different from the style of learning and material you’re used to in school, which allows you to challenge and stretch your mind in new ways.
Summer classes can dig in to interesting topics that you wouldn’t necessarily get to study during the regular school year, because summer classes don’t have to submit to the same guidelines regarding content and curriculum. There is also more opportunity to focus on unique and interesting topics in a few short weeks, making these classes fun and action-packed. Changing up routine is good for our brains!
Beyond that innovative educational trailblazing, there are other benefits as well.
Admit it, for all the complaining you do about having to go to school, you miss the drama and the hustle and bustle of the social scene when it’s not there. Summer classes give you the opportunity to meet and collaborate with motivated, smart kids such as yourself. Think of it as networking for kids. You’ll have the opportunity to meet and learn from kids from different schools who you might not ever meet, otherwise.
Those kids can share some pretty cool ideas with you. Some AoPS students compete in national math competitions, or work on projects like robotics competitions, short story contests, and similar events. If you want to know where the fun camps are (like the ones Elena was attending), AoPS Academies are where you’ll meet the kids who attend them.
Is AoPS Academy the Only Option?
While AoPS has a variety of in-person and online summer class options, they’re not the only way you can keep your mind sharp over summer.
There’s plenty of free resources and things you can do to be less of a lump than Scooter.
Those things include:
- Learn a new skill—we hear fabric arts are particularly helpful for learning math
- Try your hand at competitive problem solving with For the Win!
- Read something interesting—try some thought-provoking books that probably won’t make it on the reading list in your next English class, like these recommended by Bill Gates
- Hone your math skills with Alcumus
- Make your own Pokemon IV Calculator using the math you learned through AoPS’s videos
- Figure out what Reaper is
- Start a garden—how big would your plot need to be to be self-sufficient?
- Learn about baking—it’s part math, part chemistry, and 100% delicious
What all of those things have in common is that they’re more than just sitting around, eating twinkies and making memes.
They challenge you, make you think, and are fun projects with potentially long-lasting benefits. These are the things that you can put on your college application, or use to figure out which classes and activities you’re most interested in taking next year.
Or it’s a way to convince your parents that you really, really need a pet cow.
Look at how cute they are!
Cows Aren’t An Option at My House.
Fine, fine, it’s a bit difficult to persuade your parents to get a cow as “educational enrichment,” but you can still convince them to enroll you at AoPS Academy.
Take Elena, for example.
She must live near an AoPS Academy campus, because she had the chance to join our awesome summer camps.
At our academies, we offer in-person math and language arts classes, and over the summer, we have special summer camp sessions. Each session runs for just two weeks, and each class lasts half a day.
You can sign up for a half day and only take one subject, or make it a full day by signing up for both morning and afternoon sessions. Our summer math classes explore school math topics on a deeper level, investigating exciting concepts and challenging problems. Our language arts classes include book clubs, a variety of writing classes, and a mock trial class.
That’s right, there’s a summer camp for learning how to be a lawyer. You’ll be able to hone your persuasive skills and get closer to convincing your parents to let you get a pet cow!
If you don’t live near an AoPS Academy campus, or you’re like Raj and you’ll be traveling a lot this summer, AoPS Online classes have got you covered. You can log on from anywhere in the world, and they’re a full subject class rather than a summer camp. Students who really want to be the best (or who really want to skip ahead in math) take them over summer, as well as during the regular school year.
Don’t Be Like Scooter
FOMO is real, and it’ll grab you this summer.
Avoid it by taking AoPS Academy or AoPS Online classes. You’ll reap a bunch of academic and social benefits along the way.
Don’t worry, you can thank us later. (And please send pictures of your pet cows!)