Summer Vacation

Sunday marked the first official day of summer vacation for me! School has been so stressful the past year being a junior in high school. Summer always ends up being a rather relaxing time but this summer I have many things planned for the summer so I’ll start with the most recent.

My first plan is the Hamline Young Writers Workshop from June 20 – June 23. After meeting Kao Kalia Yang, it motivated me to learn about creative non fiction. Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong woman who was born in Thailand and came to the United States as a refugee. She attended Carleton College and Columbia University. She wrote two amazing books about the Hmong people and her father, The Late Homecomer and The Song Poet. I highly recommend these two books. Her progress really showed me that determination and passion can lead to success. That is inspirational to a young student like me who wants to become a writer one day. This is something I hope to discover more at the Young Writers Workshop and help me pursue my own goal of writing a book about my Hmong culture. Not only that but my college essay definitely needs editing.

Next I will be going to Carleton College for their summer writing program. This will focus more on my college essay as well as literature. I hope to write fictional books in the future and learning more about literature will help with this goal. There is a variety of authors, styles, and genres that I have not had the chance to explore and this experience will allow me to gain more knowledge. With high school, I have not been able to really sit down and focus on my personal writing skills, although I get practice from constantly writing for classes. This program would be a great opportunity for me to concentrate on my writing skills outside of the school year.

Then I will be working at the state fair as a gate admissions ticket seller. I actually don’t know the official name for it but I will be selling tickets again this year, I first started last summer and since I don’t plan on working throughout the entire summer this year I wanted to do the state fair again. I got really lucky with my position compared to others. I am able to sit all day inside with air conditioning and still enjoy the state fair. I really enjoy my job and the people I met were so nice to me so I am definitely looking forward to that.

Another activity for the summer is volunteering at the library. Although I haven’t turned in my form, I’ve been thinking about volunteering. My College Possible coach (a college prep program) said that it would be good for me and my resume if I volunteered during the summer but I have a fear of meeting new people. I like what’s familiar and it’s hard for me to open up to strangers. Something I am trying to work on but haven’t had much progress.

There’s also college visits. I’m in College Possible and their Academically and Civically Engaged Scholars (ACES) program. ACES is for high achieving students within College Possible. The ACES program allows me to go on fly in visits to different states for free, which is very helpful. I finally decided to stop procrastinating and choose my top three schools I want to visit out-of-state which are: Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, Yale University, and Occidental College in California. On the other hand I plan to visit other colleges within my area such as Saint Benedict, St. Olaf, Gustavus, and Macalester.

Aside from all the college stuff I want to explore more and do more rather than sitting at home watching Netflix. I want to get back into sewing, specially Hmong embroidery (paj ntaub). I learned about it when I was in 5th grade and ever since I would make them for individuals that are important to me. I will talk more about this in another post though. Something else I hope to accomplis this summer is leaarning how to drive. I think it’s a waste of money to take drivers ed classes at my school so I plan to get help from my siblings and just read the driving manual.

I’ll be ending this post with a quote: “There is no elevator to succes. You have to take the stairs.”I’m not sure who it’s by but for me this quote speaks volumes. Although I’m sure there is an elevator to the rich and talented, I am neither so I will work hard and always put in my best. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment!

– I.S.

Photo Credits: I used my phone and took a picture of the entrance at the University of St. Thomas.

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