Summer 2020 Bucket List: How Stuyvesant Students Are Spending Their Quarantined Summers

How Stuyvesant students’ summer plans have been impacted by the coronavirus.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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By Shirley Tan

For most students at Stuyvesant, summer vacation is a much anticipated two months of enjoyment, relaxation, and productivity. From internships to family vacations, Stuyvesant students typically have a wide range of plans that make the summer worth the wait. Unfortunately, with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 summer plans across the nation have fallen into disarray and uncertainty. Though summer may not be the same this year, students have still found creative and productive ways to make their summer special.

For junior Maddy Andersen, this upcoming summer was meant to be one of significant sentimental value. Andersen had originally been hired as a counselor at Frost Valley Farm Camp in the Catskills. In an email interview, she described, “The farm has been a huge part of my life since I started going [there] when I was 10 years old.” Excited for her eighth summer on the farm, Andersen was saddened to find out that all in-person summer programs at the camp had been canceled due to the coronavirus. Yet she understood that the decision was for the best. “While I was super upset by the news that there would be no camp, the main priority is keeping everyone safe, and Frost Valley cannot provide an environment that could do so this summer,” she explained. Despite this disruption in her plans, Andersen has not lost hope for the great opportunities that this summer could bring. She reflected that though she won’t be away for camp during the summer, she still looks forward to spending more time with her family, especially at the beach. Andersen also plans on taking online courses and potentially working as a COVID-19 contact tracer, for which she is currently taking part in an online certification program.

Like Andersen, freshman Lauren Lee was looking forward to an exciting away-from-home opportunity during the summer: a study abroad program in Shanghai. “It was supposed to be a really great opportunity for me to go back to China for the first time in three years, and I was really hoping to go. I planned to study [the] Chinese language and entrepreneurship during this program,” Lee explained in an email interview. However, when the coronavirus hit China in January, Lee began to worry about the status of her plans. “We [Lee and her family] didn't know how it [the coronavirus] was going to play out, but we were sure it was going to hit Shanghai because it was a big city. We hoped that it would subside by the time I was going to go to Shanghai, but the outbreak only got worse and even came to New York City,” Lee recalled. Her Shanghai plans were canceled by March. Despite this, Lee is still optimistic about the many new plans that she has made for the summer, such as serving as an intern for state assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, working as an NYC Votes ambassador, and practicing tennis. In addition to these plans, Lee is excited about being able to spend more time with her family. “I know that I will definitely cherish my summer with my family since I don't usually see them often in the summer or during the school year because I am usually out all day on the tennis courts,” she emphasized. Though disappointed about not being able to go to Shanghai, Lee said, “I can always go next time, and I don't think that I am missing out on anything.

Originally, sophomore Grace Chen had planned on spending her summer improving her resume and preparing for college applications. Chen was going to work at her local library in addition to teaching younger children about computer science and how to code. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak caused all of her interviews and internships to be canceled. Chen felt “disappointed and hopeless since it's as if I'm [she is] losing time to prepare for college.” She felt at loss on what to do because she had “depended on this year's summer to gain experience.” Chen also turned to Stuyvesant’s Student Opportunity Bulletin provided by Harvey Blumm, but she found that most of the options were not viable for her. Most of the deadlines had either already passed or were limiting the number of applicants. Chen is not ready to let her summer go to waste and was able to apply for three internships that she can complete from home that will allow her to gain experience and become better prepared for college when September comes.

Unlike Andersen and Chen, sophomore Victor Veytsman did not have any set plans and was looking to go with the flow this summer. Veytsman had gone to the performing arts summer camp, French Woods, for the past two years and had hoped to continue that streak this summer as well. Veytsman believes that amidst quarantine, he will still be able to have a meaningful summer. “I will try to focus on self-improvement and worry less about how I'm preparing myself for my college or my career,” Veytsman said. By choosing to embrace the current situation, Veytsman hopes to “take a more laid-back approach to the summer, and while I'm [he is] still going to do stuff to prepare myself [himself] for the future, it's not gonna take over my [his] whole mindset and cause me stress.” He aspires to balance working on himself and working on his future this summer.

Many Stuyvesant students’ summer plans have been disrupted by the coronavirus, and countless students are at loss on what to do. To a majority of the sophomores and juniors, these circumstances may be especially stressful because they had been relying on boosting their college resumes by volunteering or participating in internships this summer. There is a fear that if they do not take advantage of these two months, they will be at a disadvantage for college applications and other opportunities. However, all hope is not lost. Many universities have released online courses and certifications a person can take for free.