The Pressure To Resume Build Over Summer “Break”


Reni Suhr, Staff Writer

Kids of all ages buzz with excitement, racing to board the pair of buses waiting beside Piedmont Park that will soon be filled with Camp-Augusta-bound students. Other kids host bake sales, enroll in Piedmont Recreation Department-run bootcamps, and sell homemade slime. Fast forward four years and the same kids are carefully scheduling their summers with pre-college programs and resume-building activities. The overbearing pressure of what a student’s summer should look like to please an admissions officer suddenly consumes the nine weeks of summer break.  

When figuring out their summer schedules, some students turn to professionals for guidance. College and Career Center Director Gwenly Carrel is an advisor who works with students to develop and work towards their futures. Carrel often aids students with finding activities to occupy their summer. She said that to make the most of break, it is important for students to participate in activities that they truly enjoy and are interested in pursuing. 

“To make [their] application more robust, [students] should show their interests in their free time,” Carrel said. “When highschoolers do not engage in activities that line up with their interests or major, there is a question mark next to their college application.” 

PHS guidance counselor Amanda Carlson said that although thinking about academics is an important factor when choosing summer activities, students also need to find time to relax.

“I want to make sure that there is enjoyment in their summers. Don’t take it because [you’re] supposed to take it, but do it because it’s something [you’re] really interested in,” Carlson said.

Finding her passion and pursuing it is exactly what sophomore Eleanor Bleharski plans to do during the upcoming summer. Last year, Bleharski traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend a pre-college creative writing program at Georgetown University. Bleharski recognizes her personal emphasis on academics, and struggles to find a healthy balance between relaxation and academic work.

“It’s hard not to view summer as a time to build my resume. A two month window is a good time to pack in extra activities that I normally wouldn’t have time for during the school year. In my opinion, if I weren’t doing something that I could add to my resume, it would be a complete waste of the summer,” Bleharski said. “However, this mindset isn’t exactly the healthiest, as summer is when we’re supposed to get a break before the next year starts.”

Sophomore Genevieve Hiller’s summer plans look different than Bleharski’s. Hiller sings in the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, which offers a summer international tour for 12-16 year old performers. Last year, the group traveled to Denmark and Germany. Hiller looks forward to this year’s two week trip to Costa Rica as well as the required two week summer choir camp.

Hiller’s summer is not entirely spent doing choir. She is also planning different ways to get experience in the field she wants to pursue. 

“I hope to do something in medicine in my future, and I think summer is a good opportunity to be able to do programs and internships to learn about medicine that wouldn’t be possible during the school year,” Hiller said.

Although Hiller’s summer is going to be busy, she does not feel an overwhelming amount of stress.

“I don’t feel a lot of pressure to do things since I do see summer as a time for rest and to spend with family and friends,” Hiller said.

Carlson said that although these pre-college programs are not a necessity, they are good experiences and ways for students to be immersed in something they are interested in.

“[Figuring out summer] is as simple as finding out what the different ways you can get experience are,” Carrel said.


If students want guidance in finding summer activities, the College Career Center and its weekly newsletter contain many resources. Talking to a teacher or counselor are additional ways to find assistance. 


According to a survey conducted with 36 Piedmont highschool students, the top three priorities of summer are fun, academics, and work. On a scale of one to ten, 25.7% of students place a “seven” on viewing their summer as an opportunity to build up their resumes. One commonly viewed way to accomplish this is a pre-college program at a university or college campus. 25% of students are planning on participating in one of these programs, according to the same survey conducted by TPH.