Part of the fun of school is the ability to participate in extracurricular activities. Clubs, sports, volunteer activities, and committees are all great ways to enrich your high school experience while making new friends, staying in shape, and learning and developing important skills. Extracurricular activities can also give you an edge when it comes to college applications, as colleges like students who are well-rounded.
However, just as with most things in life, moderation is key. Too many extracurricular activities can actually jeopardize other areas of your life and schooling. Overdoing it when it comes to outside activities can result in a number of problems, including:
- Poor performance in school. While extracurricular activities are definitely important, your main reason for being in school is to learn. If you are taking on too many activities with practices or meetings that end up leaving you with little time to study or do your homework, your grades will suffer as a result. And if you’re planning on going to college, poor grades – no matter how many extracurricular activities you were involved in – will make it much harder to be accepted.
- Physical health. If you’re so busy with your various activities that you find you have little time to eat or sleep, your physical health becomes compromised. You won’t be as alert in class, and over-exhaustion can lead to a weakened immune system.
- Emotional health. Your extracurricular activities should be fun. They should be providing you with opportunities to be social, to learn, and to develop skills you can use now and later in life. But when your extracurricular activities are causing you more stress than enjoyment, you could end up moody, irritable, stressed, and worn out.
So how do you know if you’re taking on too much? Consider asking yourself the following questions:
- Are my extracurricular activities causing me stress rather than enjoyment?
- When I’m finished with meetings, practices, and clubs, do I end up having to stay up late to finish my homework?
- Do I have to skip out on time with my family and friends because of my responsibilities?
- Am I losing sleep because I’m always so busy?
- Is my schoolwork suffering because I’m always tired or too involved with practices or meetings to finish my homework or study?
If you answered yes to these questions, you may be putting too much emphasis on your extracurricular activities.
Striking a balance
If you feel you have taken on too many extracurricular activities, or if your activities are starting to cause you stress or are compromising your grades, you may want to cut back on the activities.
One thing you can do is pick one or two activities you are interested in and you think you can handle. Keep in mind that some activities, such as sports teams, take up a great deal of time when you figure in practices, games, and travel. If you play a sport, you may want to focus on jus the sport and schoolwork during that season, or join a club that doesn’t require a great deal of time.
Another helpful thing to do is make a schedule. Schedule out how much time you need for school, family, free time, homework, etc. and then determine which extracurricular activities you have time for. Extracurricular activities can be beneficial and enjoyable as long as you don’t neglect other areas of your life.