Putting holidays to good use

Putting holidays to good use

With summer holidays in full swing, the city is seeing innumerable summer camps and workshops for children. There are, however, a few students who are doing their own thing, carving their own paths and making the best use of the break to get experiences that are also immensely educational and give them work experience beyond the classroom.

Eleventh grader Karun Divij Balachandar, for instance, plans to apply to medical schools in the UK and Malaysia after he finishes twelfth grade. During summer, Karun has picked an interesting way to utilise his time. He is shadowing doctors at a hospital in Bengaluru.

Job-shadowing is a way of getting experience in a particular field by following a professional at his or her workplace. In the hospital, Karun works in different departments to understand what doctors do and the emergency medical procedures or diagnoses that they carry out, and real-life scenarios that cannot be replicated so easily in the classroom. The experience, he says, is invaluable and adds to whatever he has learned.

The holidays are also perfect when you want to pursue other passions. Sixteen-year-old Shresht Venkatraman, for instance, learnt French, Japanese and Korean completely on his own by using online resources. Says Shresht, “I will be taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, a certificate for proficiency in the language. I also plan to finish my advanced level deep water scuba diving course, train for a marathon and prepare for the Harvard Model United Nations.”

Explore other areas

It is an ever-changing job scene, and instead of confining ourselves to our areas of specialisations, it is a great idea to get other skills in place. When Chirag Chetan got into an engineering college, he still had the entire summer to spend doing what he liked. Chirag’s passion for photography led his mother to immediately sense an opportunity when her junior from school had posted a requirement for interns at a company on Facebook.

After a formal selection process, Chirag interned with the company and learned all about product photography. “I had only attempted candid and free photography, so this was a learning curve. There were fashion shoots and lots of editing work,” he says.

Skills like networking, social media and content management are changing careers dramatically. “I work from home on my laptop. So, my 10-year-old daughter, Noyonika, has always been involved in everything I do. One day, I was very busy and she helped me create an excel sheet of the participants of one of my workshops. She now uploads all my videos on YouTube, classifies content on social media, figures out tags for the posts and works out keywords. These are areas that I am not familiar with,” says Debmitta Dutta, a clinician and parenting and wellness consultant. Debmitta, who had always kept her daughter away from devices till she turned 10, was surprised to discover her talent in this field. “This summer, she wants to intern with me. The work we do teaches her discipline, and a responsible and constructive use of gadgets.”

For a cause

Volunteering is also a good way to get experience in different areas. Sai Yuvraj Guntha, a fifth grader, was so intrigued when his mother, Gayathri Vamsi, volunteered as a teacher at government schools in Whitefield that he decided to do the same during summer. Says Yuvraj, “I’ll be teaching basic spoken English and will also take storytelling sessions in English. It feels good to help children who don’t have the opportunity to read through as many books as I do.” Says Gayathri, “I strongly believe that parents can lead by example.”

Eighth grader Aadi Narayan is so crazy about football that during summer holidays last year, he coached the children in his apartment and used the money to buy football equipment for a government school in his vicinity. Says Aadi, “I didn’t have much to do during summer. It was fun to teach younger children.”

The world is changing rapidly and hiring patterns tend to favour those who have skills and not necessarily degrees. Says Manasa Ramakrishnan, an educationist and co-founder of Curricooler, “International universities look especially look for diverse portfolios and not just impressive mark sheets. A few Indian colleges are now following suit.”

With a lot of options to choose from, a child’s summer will not only be fun-filled but also productive. What’s more, you would have created several rewarding experiences that have helped you grow personally and plan what you want to do in the future. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead plan your summer to explore your interests and build your portfolio.

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