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Teen Talk

July 28, 2012

Teenhood Today: Don't waste your summer being bored

School has been out for a while. You've beaten all of the levels on your video game, you've gone swimming so many times that your ears have filled with chlorine, you've eaten all of the ice cream in your county, and you're wondering what else you could possibly do. Am I right?

Relaxing is amazing. I get that. During the school year there is nothing better than a bag of chips and a new TV series to watch, especially in the winter when warm blankets are available and a fire crackles in the fireplace. Relaxing is awesome. In the summer, however, the heat is unbearable, the store runs out of chips, and you realize that your IQ has dropped a few points from watching so many episodes of "SpongeBob." There are definitely more-productive things to do with your summer.

As you are reading this, I am in Africa working with orphans. Now, not all of you need to travel overseas and fit orphans with glasses. You don't even have to travel! But you shouldn't just sit on your couch all summer. Why not volunteer at a camp or hospital? This would allow you to help others and make your summer more fun. It's a win-win situation.

I'm not going to sit here and give you idea after idea, however. You know what you like to do better than I do. I am, however, going to tell you that boredom is real.

It is a common sickness whose symptoms include walking aimlessly about the house, sitting outside and watching the grass grow, and shooting rubber bands at the wall. It comes from having nothing to do.

Don't worry, it is not contagious, as boredom will usually flee when another person comes along. It is also treatable. Simply take one dose of out-of-the-ordinary-activity once every day. This medication works best when taken with another human being. Aliens don't necessarily count.

For quicker results, set goals for yourself. Finish writing a novel by the time school starts. Run a mile faster than you ever have before. Clean your room and finally find that peanut butter sandwich you've been missing since elementary school.

Side effects may include bigger smiles and increased productivity. Do not take out-of-the-ordinary-activity if you are not from Earth, as this medication may affect creatures from Jupiter in ways that scientists have not yet determined.

Seriously though, summer is not a word to describe sitting at home doing nothing. It should be the word that describes changing a person's life for the better, doing something crazy, and having fun. So please, stop playing your video games and eating chips! There is a whole world of possibilities out there, take them.

You don't want to have to tell your future children "I can't teach you how to ride a bike, but if you ever need to learn how to chase down a man made of pixels on a TV, I'm right here."

You should be able to entertain your children with stories of how you fought off a lion with your bare hands and invented the portal to the moon.

Miriam A. Thurber is a rising sophomore at Unatego Central School. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at

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