Dive into Marine Biology

Ashley Fortune ‘23, College of the Holy Cross

Although the summertime is recognized as a time for travel and enjoyment, it can also be a time when you embark on a learning journey. One of my most memorable summer experiences was not at a beach, but in a lab, researching marine life!

I spent last summer participating in a six-week paid internship at Boston University. The all-female STEM program was called GROW (Greater Boston Area Research Opportunities For Young Women). There may be similar enrichment programs near you, so go out and search!

Anyway, my lab, under my mentors James Huth and Chris Thomas, and Professor Cynthia Bradham, focused on studying the embryonic development of sea urchins. I know, it sounds like a lot, but trust me, it was amazing!  Not only did I get to work in a lab with real instruments and actual sea urchins, but I also got to meet such amazing people along the way. We got to visit the BU Medical School and hear from professors and admission reps about the college experience. 

Most importantly, the group of girls throughout this whole program remain my dear friends. We got to laugh, stress, and learn from each other as we all took part in different fields of STEM. The weeks of working in a lab and doing amazing experiments was surely a high school highlight! 

So don’t succumb to the idea that the summer is all about enjoying the beach or the pool. Search for and take advantage of all the academic opportunities you’re interested in! You will meet wonderful people, experience amazing things, expand your mind and find a new sense of self. 

Back to School Blues

Emily Sun ‘21, Boston Latin School

I stretch my arms and lean back in my beach chair. The sun is still shining brightly in the sky, and I can smell the slightly salty scent of crashing waves. I love summer!

As much as I’ve enjoyed my share of beaches, an entire month has already passed and now it’s August. To me, August means… school starts in a month! I bet many of you aren’t the most excited at the thought of going back to school. Me neither! After all, what’s waiting are nights of grinding away at homework and stressing over tests — even college app deadlines if you’re a senior. 

However, going back to school also means seeing friends and either playing sports or joining after-school club meetings. It was fun having tons of free time, and snacking whenever I wanted, but inevitably school is looming ahead. 

As I think about the good and the bad of returning to school, I have some suggestions for how you can make the best of your August before school starts.

Finish your summer homework

That might mean summer math packets, or books on a summer reading list, but either way you will need to complete it. I’m trying to spend an hour 2-3 days a week getting it out of the way so I’m not staying up late the night before school starts to finish everything.

Prepare yourself mentally and physically

  • Mentally: Each year of high school becomes more important and the courses get harder. Similar to finishing my summer homework, I’m also reviewing some of the notes I took in class last year. I’ll be taking AP classes this year, so revisiting some concepts that weren’t easy will help build my confidence. I’ll also know where to ask for extra help from teachers once school starts. Getting back into concentrating and homework mode is not fun, but I did this last year and it made starting sophomore year much easier. 
  • Physically: Since I’m free from getting up early for school I go to bed VERY late and therefore wake up VERY late. My summer sleep schedule has been quite… wacky. To avoid being overtired during the first few days of classes, I try to adjust my schedule the week prior to school so waking up at way-too-early-in-the-morning for school isn’t so painful. And now that I’ve finished binge-watching Black Mirror, I can get to bed at a decent hour too. 

Keep in touch 

Summertime is a great time to establish personal connections at jobs, internships, or summer school while exploring your interests or passions. I’m interning at CollegeFindMe, and I plan to keep in touch with my manager so if I need advice, a reference on my resume, or a recommendation letter for college, I’ll have someone other than a teacher or coach to help me.

Enjoy the rest of your summer! 

Even as you prepare yourself for school, summer is still a time for you to have fun. Catch up with your friends, see a good movie or enjoy being outside – whatever makes you happy! Good luck everyone!