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(Photo by Lauren Lambros)

(Photo by Lauren Lambros)

By Lauren Lambros, Riverside Brookfield

Ever since I walked through the doors of Riverside Brookfield high school on my first day of freshman year the push to get involved in extracurricular activities has been immense. Whether it’s from teachers or peers everyone has said to get involved in multiple activities in order to reach the ultimate goal of being “well rounded.” The second you step foot into high school counselors bring up every teenager’s most intimidating thought; college. They say that the more activities you are involved in the more appealing you are. So being the naive little freshman I was, I listened to them. That year, I joined multiple clubs and attend meetings every day after school and sometimes before school as well.

With my crazy club schedule, along with being apart of a year round travel softball team, and squeezing in family events I felt like I was running a marathon where I could not catch my breath. However, the worst part was I was starting to falling behind on my school work. I had never really struggled with school before but now things seemed more challenging, and due to my busy schedule I never had time to fully absorb the material. I did not know how I was going to be able to make it through a whole year of this chaotic schedule, and honestly, I wasn’t even enjoying half of the clubs I was in.

As time went on things only got harder. At this point, I was not even participating in all of my club’s meetings anymore. Until one day, I really sat down and really thought about the words “well rounded.” I had been hearing for so long, yet they still confused me. I concluded that someone who is well rounded is involved in various activities and is successful in multiple areas of his or her life. I wanted to enjoy high school as much as possible but also be successful so when it came time to apply for college I would have something to show for myself.

Then it hit me. I only have four years in high school, four more years with the kids who I have been going to school with since Kindergarten. My time in high school is precious, so why not spend it doing things that I am passionate about, and not just doing things just to put on a resume. The next day, I told some of the clubs that I would no longer be attending their meetings due to my crazy schedule. It felt like a ton of bricks had just been lifted off of my shoulders. I finally had more time and energy to focus on the clubs I truly enjoyed. My grades began to rise, I was able to focus more on softball, and I spent more time with my friends, who I had desperately missed.

Jam-packing my schedule may not have been the best decision for me but I learned a very important lesson. You cannot spread yourself too thin, or else you will just be going through the motions and not gain anything from the experience. That’s how you enjoy the journey, and not focus on the destination. If you spend every second thinking about what is going to happen next, how are you going to enjoy whats happening now.

For the things you are involved in, make an impact. Do it with passion and because you want to be there. You want to leave your mark on high school, so try new things, get involved, but also do not just do something to say that you did it. Be proud of who you are and what you are involved in, and that is what being well rounded truly means.

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