How much is too much?

As every high schooler applying to college knows, universities love to see a diverse and impressive portfolio of activities students have participated in during their high school career. Most students enjoy getting involved in some way, whether to meet new people with common interests, to hang out with friends while doing something fun and productive. After school activities are a great way to kill boredom, as no one wants to sit around the house all day without anything to look forward to but their stacks of homework waiting for them.

Sports teams are great for character development and creating a sense of leadership and discipline in a teamwork setting. Scholarly clubs can help students excel academically by offering extra help in the National Honor Society, or by learning new things in History club.

With such a wide variety of interesting activities available to the student body from Art Club to Yearbook, some might have some difficulty in choosing what they want to participate in, so they try to be a part of everything. While it may sound like fun, the responsibilities will begin to pile on, and the stress will become real. If colleges want to see lots of activities students are engaged in, then just how much is too much?

Keeping yourself busy is what many of us remember when we look back on our high school days. Joining a club means you care about what you’re learning and participating in, and if you’re heart isn’t in it, you’ll find yourself whining about how slow the clock moves instead if wishing there was more time to practice. If you find always yourself exhausted after long days at school and clubs, rushing to get from Point A to Point B all the time, or noticing your grades slipping, you may be overscheduling yourself. And while you may not want to drop any of your activities, take a step back and look at what you want out of these activities, and what your emotional state is causing you to actually get out of any of them.

Find what suits you best or interests you the most. While you may want to join the ski team, take part in the school musical, volunteer for Green Team, join Model United Nations, and hold a part-time job, it’s simply never going to work. Scheduling conflicts will arise that will make attending any meeting of various clubs unmanageable. Ask yourself questions to see what is the most important. If you are saving money for a new car or future college tuition, a job is an activity that must stay on your list. If you want to go into politics in your future career, maybe Model U.N. should stay on the list too. If you’re new to skiing you might reconsider trying out for the team and take some beginner lessons to see if you really enjoy the sport to begin with. If saving the Earth isn’t a top priority to you, then your half-hearted volunteering won’t help the members who are dedicated to their club and what it stand for. The school musical requires major responsibility for daily rehearsals and practice outside of school.

This isn’t to say that you should totally limit yourself, but you should always be aware that your social life with friends and home life with family may suffer as a result of being over scheduled. Your grades will also face the consequences, as your study time will be severely cut down on if you join too many activities. Before joining any new clubs or teams, be sure to ask the advisor or a student currently in the group about the details regarding the necessary commitment the activity requires of you, both inside and out of school. Nothing is worse than saying you’re going to take responsibility for something and then not following up on your promise. Club members and teammates rely on one another, and trusting each other to be there for the group is essential.

The major factor to determine of you should drop a club or team is to ask yourself if you really love what you spend your time on. If you try too hard to be a part of everything you may find they there is no real depth to your contribution. A club or team should be something that you give your all into, and when it stops being fun everyone around you realizes it too. Join an activity that brings you up, not one that drags you down. Become invested in what you chose to spend your time doing. After school extracurriculars should never feel like a chore because you made the choice to be a part of something you love, so chose wisely!