By Lindsay Olsen, age 16, California

You know the deal. Prom is over and spring break was ages ago. Here and now, summer is here.

While scampering to pull up grades, studying for finals, signing yearbooks, and taking standardized tests, teenagers have another activity as well –planning out their summers.

Summer. Two glorious months of freedom. Parents are at work, friends have cars, and everyone’s homework is, for once, done. So what are we going to do with the sixty-some sunny days of summer?

“Vacation!” A unanimous response.

Chris Rischer from California is hauling it across s the world, to spend a month in his home country, England. Other popular international vacationing spots are Mexico, France, Italy and India.

As far as staying in the states goes, Laine Watkins is off to Nebraska, to spend the summer in the countryside. Sarah Michaels is going to a university to work on her (blech…) college essay.

Many Californians are off to the Hawaiian islands, as if they don’t get enough sunshine as it is.

But what about everyone who isn’t privileged enough to fly to France, or take a cruise in the Bahamas? Well, McDonalds is a popular spot. To work, that is. Ryan Hendric and four of his pals, Jessica, Jared, John, and Craig, are spending their summer flipping burgers.

Summer is a great time for teens short on time to pick up some quick cash without it interfering with their studies. And speaking of studies, some people actually studying are this summer. Lauren and Erica report depressinglythat they have to spend their summers conducting physics labs and reading novels for their advanced placement classes.

Some people are doing pretty cool things. Heather Onsted, a senior from Michigan, is traveling to Israel with a religious group. Nigri Vessels, a freshmen from New York, is spending the summer with her youth group, building shelters for the homeless. Adam Birch is going on an independent rainforest study in Central America. Hannah Dridel is starting her own jewelry business, and Morgan Wright is learning Russian in preparation for a month-long trip next year.

Plenty of “hanging out.”

Tricia Howell hit all the common activities when asked what she was doing. “I’ll be surfing at the beach, shopping at the mall, chilling with my crew and boyfriend, and partying!”

Sasha Bradeson states “I’m a lazy bum. I hardly ever party. I’m quieter then that, but I still enjoy summer. I like to write short stories, chat online, and swim with my friends.”

Scott Stevenson says, “I’ll chill with my girlfriend everyday, but I may try to get a job too, cuz I wanna get a car. And I’ll definitely play basketball!”

You don’t have to bum it, though. Summer is a terrific time to accomplish tons of things. Like getting in shape, for example. Running, swimming, and dancing are all easy, cheap, and great exercises. And hey, if you get good you’ll have a team to join at school next year. When it rains, I suggest you paint, design Web sites, make clay pots or cook. Look, here’s some time, it’s a gift, use it to explore different activities. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover that making a video game is funner than playing it and then you’ll become a game designer and make millions.

Summer is also a great time to persue “college application points,” persay. You can always work on upping your SAT score, or sign up for an AP class and study (come on…it’s not that bad!).

Of course there is always volunteer work. Soup kitchens, environmental programs, hospital volunteer programs- all are abundant practically everywhere, and they really need your help.

Do something! Anything! Come September, you’ll be sorry that you didn’t.