“I’m bored. I literately have nothing to do now.” I hear these complaints regularly from my friends since I came to Phillips Exeter Academy Summer School. It is true that we are bored during certain times as we have nothing to do besides classes, sports, homework, and eating.
“Well, you could socialize with your friends at downtown or at The Grill,” some may suggest as a solution to kill time. But this aggravates our boredom even further. Exeter is too small and limited to keep us entertained during the free time we have on afternoons. The same thing applies to The Grill, since all we can do there is to eat, drink, and chat. This brings us back to the initial issue: boredom during our free time. In order to avoid having a gloomy and dull afternoons, there should be more extracurricular activities in which students can participate and entertain themselves.
Currently, students’ option in choosing activities are limited; there are only choir, glee club, orchestra, and jazz band. However, if I were the Head of this Summer School Program, I could add extra activities that would interest more students and will actually be educational and instructive. These include entertaining activities such as chess and Othello, where students can learn worldwide traditional games, as well as some of the popular international school activities: Model United Nations, Brainbowl, Social Justice Committee, and math teams. Increasing the categories of activities will definitely excite more students to participate in them compared to the current list of choices, where the only participants are the students with musical interests.
After coming to the decision to increase the number of extracurricular activities, I need to hire teachers who specialize in specific fields of activity or participate in certain activity during the regular year in their schools. Hiring teachers just for these activities would not be the best idea, as it means more expenses for the school. Therefore, I can recruit more faculty members who have both experience in teaching classes as well as extracurricular activities, which will not require much extra money.
Why extracurricular activities? Why not increase more off-campus trips or other activities? One reason is that we already have a sufficient number of trips; we have them on every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, as well as the almost daily Polar Bear Swims. These trips often last for three to five hours: too long to fit into free time. Extracurricular activities only last for one to two hours, which fits perfectly in students’ free time. Another reason why I chose extracurricular activities over trips is that they give so many benefits. They enable students to acquire new knowledge and skills, as well as to improve skills that had been already built. In other words, students can earn something meaningful during their free time hours.
Having free time is not always a bad thing, but when students feel bored with it, it is definitely not the most effective way to spend time. In fact, I’ve heard many students complain about their boredom and suggest increases in evening activities. Spending our free time in extracurricular activities can give so much enjoyment as well as the opportunity to trigger students’ interests and talents. This should be the main purpose of this Summer School.