June/July 2024

School’s out for Summer

It’s that time again, school is out and that long anticipated summer break is here!  The air is warm, the birds sing sweetly, and there are no assignments, homework or tests to study for.  Finally, time for yourself.  Rest and relaxation are great, even needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.   But after you get some rest and relaxation, what would you like to do now that your teachers, coaches, principals, or club advisers are not telling you what you should do?  What would you like to invest your time in? 

What would you like to learn, or do, or explore?

Here are some ideas for you to consider…

Education Activities
Reading:  Read books for pleasure, interest, or for the upcoming school year.

Summer Classes: Enroll in a summer school class or online class to get ahead, learn more about an interest, or catch up on credits.

College Prep: Study for college tests like ACT or SAT, research and visit colleges/universities, start working on college applications or college essays.

Skill Development
Learn a new skill: Take up a hobby like photography, playing a musical instrument, gardening or whatever interests you.

Learn a foreign language: Learn a new language or improve your current foreign language skills. There are many apps available that can help!

Workshops or Camps: Attend a workshop or camp.  There are many summer opportunities related to STEM, sports, arts and more!

Personal Projects
Creative Projects: Start a blog or video diary, make a short film using your friends and family, create a podcast, write a short story, or where ever your creativity takes you.

DIY Projects: Try your hand at crafts, or simple home improvement projects.  YouTube is filled with different DIY project to try.

Fitness Goals: Set your own personal fitness goals to improve your health, stay active, or improve your sport.

Social Activities
Friend Gatherings: Organize outings, movie nights, or study groups with friends.

Summer Camp: Attend a summer camp to meet new people and patriciate in group activities.

Travel: You can travel locally or not so locally and explore new places, people and cultures.

Life and Career Skills: Listening

If there is one skill that could improve your relationships and your effectiveness in your future career, it is listening. It may seem simple, but in this busy world of competing distractions it is far from easy. Many times, we think we are listening when someone is speaking to us, but really, we are thinking about what happened at home last night, what someone posted about on social media, thinking about the next thing we need to do, or whatever else is running though our head, and the truth is we are just barely listening to what the other is saying. Sometimes we are just waiting for our turn to talk or formulating what we will say next instead of listening. To really listen requires focus and energy. This type of listening, sometimes referred to as Active Listening, requires us to really be present with the speaker, our attention set on the speaker and what is being said.

This requires effort, focus and practice. It is so easy for our minds to wander off to our own priorities or you get a notification or text, and you wonder what it could be and how soon can you look at it without offending the speaker. Active listening requires us to let go of our own stuff, thoughts and emotions, and make space for the other in the present moment. This is one of the greatest gifts we can give to another, to validate them, that they are important enough to set aside your own issues and concerns, and see and hear them with full attention. Nothing else can make a person feel seen and heard in the same way. Practice this form of Active Listening and your relationships will improve both personally, academically and professionally. As with anything the more you practice the more skilled you will be and the easier it will become.

Some tips:

  • If you find your mind starting to wander, gently bring it back to the speaker, this is normal and happens to everyone in the beginning.
  • Maintain eye contact and use non-verbal clues to show you are engaged, such as an open posture, nodding the head and so on.
  • Avoid interrupting and wait for the speaker to finish before speaking.
  • When you do speak, make sure not to redirect all the focus back to yourself, even if you have a relatable story.
  • You may want to make a comment about what was said, ask a question or even briefly summarize what was said by the speaker. This lets the speaker know you heard them.

In-State Universities Open Applications Later This Summer

New seniors, you can get a jump on your senior year by applying to the three in-state universities in July. All three have a $50 application fee but you can have it waived if needed. There is no longer a fee waiver form. Instead, you will fill out the application and your answers will determine if you qualify for the fee waiver. If you do, it’s applied automatically!

Arizona State University opens their application on July 1, 2024.
Northern Arizona University opens their application in July.
The University of Arizona opens their application in July.
You will need to check for NAU and the U of A to see when it opens in July.

While you are waiting for the applications to open so you can apply, this is a great time to go take some steps to get ready for your senior year and applying to colleges.

  1. Make a list of interested colleges and universities.
  2. Check admissions requirements on their websites.
  3. Set up in-person and online college tours.
  4. Work on building your resume and letters of recommendation.
  5. Start looking for scholarships and also go scholarship pages for each university or college.

Pro Tip: The earlier you get started, the easier and less stressful it will be!

Self-Reflection and Better Living

Now that summer is here, take some time to think about how the past school year went for you. What were the highlights of your year? Get out a notebook or journal and write these down or make a list. These can be a valuable clue to what you want to do more of in your life. Also consider the lows of your year. Write these out as well or make another list. Now look at both lists and take some time to think and reflect on this.

What do you think you can learn from your lows? There may be things you want to avoid or behaviors you want to change. Life is a continual learning process and the more we take the time to reflect on our lives the more we can learn, grow, and direct our future. Oftentimes it is the struggles and challenges of life that can bring the most growth in our lives.

What can you learn from the highlights of the year? As you think about what was good in your life and what you would like more of, what are some things you could do next year to bring about more of what you value into your life? Maybe you would like to be more involved in school: through sports, theater, clubs, student council, or simply having more school spirit and attending school events with vigor and vitality. Maybe you want to improve your grades or put more effort into studying or participating in class. Find a group that resonates with you that you can connect with, and get involved and participate. Make some high school memories that you can enjoy!

College Degree Required–Career Spotlight: Biomedical Engineering

What is biomedical engineering?
A biomedical engineer designs and creates medical devices and equipment to help improve patient care. They can work on technology like prosthetics, MRI machines, and diagnostic tools. They often work with doctors and scientists to solve medical problems and advance healthcare for patients.

Is biomedical engineering a desk job?
Biomedical engineering has both hands-on work as well as desk work. It involves things like designing and testing medical equipment using computers. But he/she can also be at a manufacturing facility or teaching a group of doctors or other engineers. It depends on the job as some might be more aligned with a desk job and others might be more on the go.

What is the salary for a biomedical engineer and growth outlook?
The median annual salary is $93,000. However, this amount varies quite a bit based on your location and actual job.

What degree do you need to become a biomedical engineer?
Students must have a degree in biomedical engineering or a related field. You must also have strong math and science skills.

What are some related fields to biomedical engineering?
Biotechnology, medical device engineering, clinical engineering, and biomaterials are some related majors and fields.

Where can you get more information?
ASU has a site that provides information about biomedical engineering degrees and careers. Click HERE.

College Degree Not Required–Career Spotlight: Dental Hygienist

What is the average salary for a dental hygienist?
The national average salary for a starting dental hygienist is approximately $78,000. Hourly salaries vary from $35-$50 depending on experience. Some states pay above $100,000.

What kind of education do you need to become a dental hygienist?
First, you will need a high school diploma or GED. Then you will need to attend a community college and earn an associate of science degree in dental hygiene. An associate’s degree takes two years to complete. In your program, you will get both classroom instruction and clinical practice (real life practice).

Second, you will need to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene examination and a state/regional clinical board examination.

What other skills do you need to have to become a dental hygienist?
Because you are working with patients, dental hygienists need to have excellent communication and customer service skills. They must be detail oriented and willing to do a variety of tasks.

Where can I find more information about becoming a dental hygienist?
You can click HERE to go to the American Dental Hygienist Association site. It provides useful information for prospective students!

Don’t forget you can schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with your AzSOC Counselor for any type of support with school, life, college or career planning!

To schedule your meeting, go to: https://calendly.com/azsoc-counselors or access it through the AzSOC Counseling Center in Canvas.

Choose a date and time that works for you to meet with an AzSOC Counselor. Select your preferred slot and schedule your appointment today!