Youth are go-getters today! They know how to fulfill their desires and reach their destinies. Many of them are kick-starting this summer. Payal Chhabria listens to some of their stories…

They do not follow the English calendar. Not even the regional ones. Their years are segmented into two parts: 10 months and summer. When the latter arrives, they eat, drink and make merry, date the television, romance sleep, and let their hair down. And reasonably so, because in their world, it’s a natural way of life.

But what about that 16-year-old who is visiting NASA this summer? And the 19-year-old who decided to spend her two-month holiday teaching underprivileged children? And that 21-year-old flying to Korea for a theatre exchange programme? You may call them strange but they are not the only ones with unconventional summer plans.

Living their dreams

Take for instance, 13-year-old Shruthi Kumaravel, a student of PSBB, KK Nagar, who is going to spend her summer holidays at the Shiv Nadar University in Delhi. Among the 5 per cent to have made it to the second level of the ASSET test – a scientifically designed, skill-based assessment test for students of class 3 – 10 - Shruthi has been chosen to attend a 21-day residency camp at the University that will give her an insight into Physics and Engineering. “Every year, I travel to the US for an annual holiday,” says Shruthi, “This year, however, I will be doing something different. I am most excited about the camp; it is an opportunity to meet like-minded people, have great conversations and learn a whole bunch of new things.”

While some are banking on academic opportunities, others are feeding their passion and experimenting on their own.

Thejaswin Venkatesan (21), student of Journalism and Mass Communication at SRM University, is making a film on eunuchs. After a long, tiresome battle with time, he believes that this summer will see his idea come into being. “Shooting the film should take about 20 days or so. I haven’t found so much free time at a stretch so I have planned to shoot this summer. I hope to screen this at the Sundance Film Festival,” he says.

Yamini S.’s story is no different. “I hope to work on a personal project,” says the 19-year-old student from Velammal Engineering College. “I have had this idea of creating an exclusive language translator app for a while now. The purpose is to translate words from one language to another as the person is speaking. I have been looking for time with absolutely no luck. This summer hopefully…”

So, do they never take it easy? What about the fun associated with holidays? “Well, this is fun,” says Yamini, “This is what I want to do, and anything that we choose to do for ourselves is always fun.”

Exactly what Shri Shruthi seems to think! This 20-year-old from SRM University has signed up for a course that’ll help her teach children with disabilities. “It is one thing to learn things that will benefit you,” she says, “It is another to learn something that will help you and others. Beware of the latter, you might get addicted to the sense of satisfaction that comes with it. Honestly, I am taking up this course in my holidays only to satiate that craving.”

Learning new skills

And here’s one who isn’t satisfied with what she learns at school. So she has taken up a new instrument, a new language and a new fitness regimen “in these holidays”. Vrithi S., 15, a student of Chettinad Vidyashram, says, “I wanted to learn a new language.

I thought Hindi was a good bet because it will help me get a government job, and help if and when I travel to the North. I have signed up for a Boot Camp, a rigorous and interesting fitness form that uses ladders and bamboo sticks instead of the usual fitness paraphernalia. And the piano, that is just for the joy of it. Actually, everything is…”

Organisations too, especially those led by youngsters, seem to have taken note of this shift. And they are serving as catalysts in the process, providing opportunities and avenues to explore and experiment. Crea-Shakti, a city-based theatre institution, helmed by a team of youngsters, is organising a theatre initiation programme for children above the age of four (More details on www.creashakthi.com). Dushyanth Gunashekar, Creative Head, says, “When we were younger, I remember spending most of my summers outdoors playing. This generation is a lot luckier as they have a plethora of options.”

OCE Study Abroad, a city-based education consultancy firm, is facilitating a dream opportunity for young football fans. Students between 12 and 18 can take up a 10-day football residency camp in the U.K. under the leadership of the acclaimed Bolton Wanderers (More details on www.ocestudyabroad.com). Surya Chidambaram, 23, who helps his mother in the firm, says, “First, it is an international trip. You will be exposed to so many different cultures, make so many new friends and of course, get the best football training. He is happy, parents are happy. What’s more?” Indeed.

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