Summertime, But The Living Isn’t Easy
A beach towel. The newest Ray-Ban sunglasses. Lightly sun-kissed skin. For many teenagers, nothing more is required for a perfect summer. But according to some New York City kids, a check at the end of each month will substitute for the fashion magazine, and a cheery “camp counselor” t-shirt complete with a feigned smile will replace the bikini top.
For many students, summer is a time to escape the stress a nine-month long, demanding schedule can evoke. However, a few exceptional girls won’t have surfing the waves or tanning for hours on the top of their summer to-do lists this year. They only have a few summers before college, and want to make the most of their three months.
Marymount School is a private, all-girls high school in New York City. When its students were asked about their summer plans, a shockingly low percentage of them claimed they chose to simply enjoy their time under the rays and wait until the forever-ambiguous “next year” to start working. Paula Assou and Caitlin Vanderberg are two girls who aren’t the minority and won’t be lounging on the beach this summer.
Paula Assou is going to be a junior next year and has already determined her passion in life: ice-skating. She will attend a sleep-away camp, Lake Placid, for the third consecutive summer. She describes Lake Placid as a place where anyone can go to improve their ice skating skills as well as make friends and countless memories. Most days she will take classes that help her enhance specific skills for ice-skating, but she recounted her favorite memory as seeing “Despicable Me” and eating Chinese food with her friends one day after practice, due to the freedom that Lake Placid allows the campers to enjoy. Paula also mentioned the tangible sense of camaraderie the camp creates, which is one of the reasons why she’s counting down the days until she can start packing.
Unlike Paula, Caitlin Vanderberg won’t be going to camp this summer; rather, she will be working at one. This year will classify her as a second-year counselor at Marymount Summer, her school’s day-care program from June through August. Caitlin emphasized her love for the job because last year she worked with all the children in gym class, which allowed her to do everything she loved: playing sports and bonding with campers!
Although girls like Paula and Caitlin won’t be lounging around the beach during the summer, their plans will help them grow and gain independence. And when they look back on their memories in the sun, it’s experiences like those they will never forget. #
Ariana Salvatore is a rising junior at the Marymount School in New York City.