STEIMER: Fill out an application and do something this summer

From Bruno Mars to Mac Miller, there are artists everywhere preaching the fruits of laziness. These are teachings which I was once a huge proponent of as they apply to summer. I know that it’s barely a month into the new semester and I’m already talking about summer, but bear with me. After all, deadlines for many summer opportunities are either this month or next, and all I’m saying is that you should look into them. Summer does not have to be just for playing Xbox or watching re-runs of Pretty Little Liars . As I discovered last summer, it can be a time for creating memories and having the experience of a lifetime, all while boosting the ol’ resume. My summer scholastic opportunity was somewhat unique in that it paid me a $1,000 scholarship to come and participate in the conference. And though I understand that many similar opportunities require payments from the participants, I know that my experience at the Al Neuharth Journalism Conference in Washington, D.C. was priceless. The trip consisted of four of the best days of my life, including an all-access tour of Capitol Hill, time to rub shoulders with deans and editors, and a lunch program about the great Freedom Rides given by some of the actual Riders and journalists of the time. And did I mention we had a dance party on the Potomac? I am convinced I met some of the best people on the planet on this trip. The common sentiment on the last day was, “How did we become this close in only four days?” This type of trip breeds this type of friendship. Participating in this sort of event can merit lasting friendships, along with things like a stronger resume and real world experience in certain professions. But what the trip gave me that I value every bit as much as any keynote lecture we heard is a confidence that the journalism industry is the place for me, as much confidence as any high school senior can have, anyways. And I’m not the only advocate for this type of experience. Senior Kat Moore spent a month in China this summer, teaching English and traveling all over the southeastern part of the country in what she called a "life-affirming trip" in a story published by The Bark . Moore’s experience came courtesy of the first year of "Awesome Adam Adventures," a scholarship for summer programs founded in memory of former Bearden student Adam Wise by his grandmother Nancy Thompson. Applications for this summer’s "Awesome Adam Adventures" are available from Ms. Linda Mongeon in the guidance office. So even though “Senior Skip Day” is my ringtone and I am a generally lazy guy, I would encourage all of Bearden High School to figure out a way to spend your summer that does not involve sitting around playing video games in Knoxville. You might have the time of your life, meet lifelong friends, or learn what you want to do with those next 50 years of your life. And you better hurry, too, because the deadline to apply for the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Journalism Conference is Feb. 15. Jacob Steimer is the sports editor for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.