Get (Un)Involved!

Zoey Greenwald, Staff Writer

  I’ve been through exactly one semester of high school. One of the most daunting things about starting high school was this almost unexplainable pressure to do something. Be someone.

     Starting high school, one of the phrases you hear most is “get involved.” Join a sport! Join clubs! And while I understand that administrators want freshmen to try new things, there seems to always be an underlying pressure to not only do the thing, but to become the thing.

  Sure, there are plenty of people who do clubs and a sport and extracurriculars, but that’s really, really hard.

  We fill up our schedules and stress ourselves out and wake up at six a.m. every day just to feel satisfied. You don’t want to miss out. You can’t miss out. You want to shake someone by the shoulders and scream “Where’s my highschool experience?!!!!” You don’t want to let it go. You don’t want to miss it.

And once you’ve joined one sport or club, it’s hard to join others. Because you have practice every day. Because you have loads of AP Biology homework. Because you have this meeting and that meeting. Because you’re always busy.

  We have so much to do — so many things to discover. It can get overwhelming.

  But this also shapes our social lives. Friends become too busy for other friends. We don’t have any spare time. Kids feel overwhelmed with the stress of both school and these extracurriculars.

  At almost every club or sport orientation, you’ll hear a veteran of the said club or sport say something like “I’ve made so many friends here!”

  And it’s great to make new friends. But what about your old friends? The ones who still count on you even though you’re busy 24/7? The ones who want to hang out with you on your birthday? The ones who wish you had at least one minute of free time?

  Being a freshman means being encouraged to discover your interests. Find out who you are. But the problem is that most of us aren’t only interested in one thing. We all have multiple interests, talents, and hobbies.

  But if we try to pursue all of these interests, we end up stressed way out.

  One extracurricular shouldn’t be so time-consuming that taking another one ends up being that stressful. Why can’t sports, clubs, and AP classes be just for fun? Why must they consume us?

  And when we see that stress, or more importantly, when we can’t handle it, we’re forced to choose one or two extracurriculars — and it becomes our “thing.”

  Now, it’s great to have hobbies and interests, but students aren’t just their extracurriculars.

  As freshmen, students should feel free to explore. Free to do different things and find out who we are. So many of us are too consumed with extra homework and practices and meets and meetings that we don’t have any time left.

  We pack and pack and pack our schedules up to the point where we’re barely ever free.

  This is why we need to free ourselves.

   While we shouldn’t sign up for everything and cross our fingers that we’ll be okay, we also can’t let any one activity control our lives.

  High school, so far, has not been a walk in the park. But if we can find a balance between what’s a healthy amount of work and what’s forgetting the words “Free time”, we might just make it.