12 June 2018
Students who have sat or still sitting public examinations will be looking forward to the summer holidays and a break from revision and studying which they may feel has left them with no free time. They are probably planning to lie in and spend the day chilling and relaxing knowing that their work is done. Or is it? Parents and family may have another view point and have planned a programme of activity or work for the rest of the break.
There are some advantages to having time to relax and even become bored. It could be said that this recharges batteries and refreshes minds leading to a positive feeling of well-being. This is good especially for young people who are reported to find the pressure of examinations onerous which can lead to anxiety and poor mental health.
We are fortunate to live in an area where there is a plethora of holiday jobs, mainly in the tourist industry. Getting work is relatively easy and there are many positives that students may yield from this employment.
Students who earn their own money gain a sense of self-respect particularly if they are saving for a purpose. They know how hard that money has been earned and therefore spending it becomes much more focused on value. That boost to income might fund an experience, such as travel, which then leads to other prospects. Many well-known people often speak of their first experience of the workplace and how useful it was to them in their future life. Most of this temporary type of employment is doing menial jobs and there are so many lessons that come from this work and not least knowing what it is like to do such a job. Getting up and meeting a time deadline has its benefits and not to be underestimated is the responsibility of being relied on at work. Employers like to employ people who have a track record in the work place and finding other jobs after finishing school or higher education is so much easier if students have a reference from a previous employer who can confirm their constancy and trustworthiness. In work there is the opportunity to mix with a variety of people, for example, those older that they might not have had the chance to meet before.
Occupation over the long summer may not always be paid and there is a true value in volunteering. The National Citizenship Service is thriving in Portsmouth and its environs and it is well worth participating in. There are other volunteering opportunities and students may create their own such as helping an elderly neighbour with their garden.
Work experience is useful in confirming a career choice or securing opportunities for the future. This is not often paid but brings other rewards that are immeasurable.
As in all things whether to encourage the post examination teenager to seek temporary occupation whether paid or not is a balance and depends very much on the individual and opportunities available.
Jane Prescott, Headmistress, Portsmouth High School GDST