Experiences vs. Things
Summer vacation is upon us and there are lots of ways you could spend your time. School’s out, and about two months worth of free time lay sparkling in front of you. What can you do that will put those weeks to good use?
You could go shopping and buy some things that are exciting and new at first, but that eventually lose their luster. In fact, there have been numerous studies on how the material things you buy don’t actually make you happy. (For instance, one study that asked people to self-report their happiness with major material and experiential purchases. Initially, their happiness with those two purchases was ranked about the same. But over time, people’s satisfaction with the things they bought went down, whereas their satisfaction with experiences they spent money on went up.)
You could not buy anything and just relax by the pool, goof off with your friends or work on your tan.
But will any of those things be something you can use for good? Will they make an impact on your life? Will they be something you can add to a college application?
Instead, consider setting aside your summer budget not for a new wardrobe or electronic toy, but for an experience that opens your eyes to new parts to the vast world outside of your hometown. You could explore a wolf sanctuary in Colorado, the underwater world in Central America, the Himalayas, or the stunning fjords of Norway, just to name a few. You’ll be exploring beautiful new places while also giving back to the community you’ll become a part of.
Participating in a summer travel program with RLT means you become fully immersed in another culture while doing community service to aid your cultural understanding and to help give back to the people who welcome you into their world—whether it’s helping build structures for a village, helping teach English as a second language, or even just playing a game of soccer with some local children.
These experiences make a lasting positive impact not only on the people you’re serving, but on you, too. They provide hands-on experience in the real world that you can bring back to your everyday life once the trip is over. And while a trip may only last a few short weeks, the good you do while you’re there will be forever etched in your memory. A summer on “The Road” will provide you with stories for a lifetime and experiences that impact you in fundamental ways that sometimes you don’t recognize until years later.
Spending a day by the pool isn’t quite the same as actually being out in nature. Environmental stewardship programs let you work with everything from wild animals to underwater coral reefs. And while you’re learning to scuba dive, removing non-native plant species, or working with endangered animals, you’ll still have plenty of time to be out in the sunshine.
Stewardship means learning to be responsible with our natural resources—and in a world with a quickly growing population and over-consumption, a more relevant subject is hard to find. If you can learn to be a global citizen who’s earth-conscious while you’re young, you’re placing yourself in the position to be a leader in the future.
Summer vacation is notoriously that time of year when things slow down. But the question is, how much should they slow down?
In reality, you should be maximizing every opportunity you can to expand the breadth of your education in order to stand out amongst the thousands of other students who are applying for college every year. When you have real experiences you can pull from alongside your outstanding education, you’re creating a marketable package that college admissions offices are sure to notice.
So, how will you spend your time and money this summer?
If you’re ready to spend your time and money on an experience that will last you your whole lifetime, commit today. Apply now.