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Image of a pink flamingo floatation device in water, courtesy of Vicko Mozara
David Jacobson

“Summertime, and the living is easy.” So the famous song says. And, yes, summer break offers a great deal of freedom from the school-year stress and strain of cadet life.

Without classes, drills, extracurricular commitments, studying, and everything else that tests students at Saint Thomas Academy, you can kick back and relax. Go ahead. You need it, and you’ve earned it. (By the way, this goes for parents, too!)

At the same time, remember that many of your school-year pursuits are joyous and enriching, and may be more so in the summer months, absent any academic pressures. Even if you wanted a complete shutdown right after your last class or exam, that desire may not last.

Because you are intelligent and driven enough to be a cadet, chances are that the completely idle life is not long for you. Feel free to indulge in some of the interests that are tied to the Academy. That may strike you as “wasting” the summer you fantasized spending on little more than sleep and screen-time. But life as a whole – with its growth opportunities, wonders, and challenges – does not stop just because your school year has.

Here are a few ideas for enjoyable activities that still can deepen your attachment to the school, give you a fresh perspective on why you are there, and help prepare you for even greater success and fulfillment during the next school year:

Exercise. Play informal pick-up sports. Keep fit for your Academy team(s). Or just run, cycle or swim – alone or with friends and family – for the sheer joy of movement. Of course, exercise is strenuous, but it will help you relax even more deeply later on.

Get out into nature. Few experiences are as spiritual as a walk in the woods, rolling on a river, or lounging lakeside. Again, the depth of relaxation is incomparable, even while you are nourishing your soul, and even if your mind wanders to your Catholic education. There is a reason that many forests and parks have “cathedral” in their names.

Visit a real cathedral. It’s a good religious practice, which, let’s face it, may lapse without the steady exposure the school year provides. Beyond scripture and sermon, cathedrals also offer astonishing architecture, cultural curiosities, and relief from the rain, heat, humidity, and mosquitoes of a Minnesota summer.

Check out agencies that participate in Joe Seidel’s service activities. See which ones interest you the most. Feel free to let anyone at the agency know you are a Cadet, as that may deepen the connection between the Academy and the agencies.

Read. Yes, you read that right. Read. As in books. Maybe start with those on your official Saint Thomas Academy reading list

Write. You might be surprised how enjoyable writing is when it’s not just a must for making grades.

Hang out and talk. Like, with your mouth, not your texting fingers. Deepen your relationships with friends and family. Learn about their lives, and help others learn from yours. Most anyone you know has unique experiences and perspective, and so do you. As Dr. Seuss said, “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”

Oh, and if you’re curious about the song Summertime, don’t Google it. Ask your parents instead, and enjoy a nice, relaxed conversation.