Thought to Consider


Winterm 2020 – Students Explore Interests!

Cannon Upper School is hosting Winterm this week with topics ranging from rock climbing to Gilmore Girl Power and from escape rooms to genealogy. Students are getting opportunities to learn new things, take risks, travel, interact with different peers, hear different perspectives and simply have fun! Winterm is a unique opportunity for students to explore interests outside of the core courses and their scheduled extracurricular activities. Topics may be a one-off for a student, may reinforce a current interest or may ignite a brand-new curiosity – all are fantastic outcomes from this week of exploration.

It is important for students to pursue activities and interests as this quest lets students:

  • Discover what they care about
  • Focus on skill development
  • Meet different people
  • Experience success and build self-esteem
  • Manage time
  • Handle adversity and experience failure
  • Value hard work

When Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult, spoke at Cannon School she shared great insight on how developing these skills helps teenagers to grow into adults. She emphasized the importance of students doing activities they are interested in doing – not necessarily the activities their parents are interested in them doing. She noted, “We don’t want 18-22-year-olds who can’t make a decision, solve a problem or cope with a minor setback that life throws you. We need to raise them so that they have the skills and the mindset and the wherewithal to fend for themselves.”

In turn, students who make choices of how they spend their time discover what they care about and value and are able to articulate this in the college admission process. When evaluating interests and activities, colleges are seeking to learn:

  • Does the student care deeply about anything—Intellectual? Extracurricular? Personal?
  • What has the student learned from their interests? With what success or failure?
  • What is the quality of the activities? Do they appear to have a genuine commitment or leadership role?
  • What does the student you hope to explore in college with their free time?

As Winterm week winds up, we hope students will take some time to ponder these questions in relation to what they explored in the courses. Maybe a new hobby is in the making!