How to Prevent Being Clubbed to Death

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How to Prevent Being Clubbed to Death

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Whether a monthly powwow or a daily two-hour practice, every after-school activity involves certain responsibilities that pull focus from scholastic obligations. With over 40 extracurricular opportunities offered by Hoban, not to mention activities separate from the school, slight diversions quickly become full-time operations. Such unprecedented flash floods of stress stemming from only a few club enrollments beg the question: How much is too much?


Zen Kōans are easier to answer, but I’ll try.


You could always run a simple health-and-happiness analysis to decide. Are you sleeping less than five or six hours a night? Have you become too busy for routine bonding time with family and friends? Do you attend meetings for clubs you have little to no interest in? If you answered yes to all of these questions, congratulations! You are the lucky winner of years of sleep deprivation and poor grades! Not to worry, the only tax is familial relationships and, well, friends.


However, if you’re an overachiever like myself, some of those sacrifices may seem worth the addition of seven or eight clubs to your college applications. I’m going to let you in on a secret: We’re dead wrong.


For starters, most large public colleges, like Kent State University, the University of Akron and Ohio State University draw such an expansive applicant pool that extracurriculars don’t carry much weight. Admissions committees at schools like these focus more often on an applicant’s quantitative attributes – if excessive extracurriculars begin affecting your grades, you’re at a major disadvantage.


Highly selective private schools also won’t be impressed by your involvement if it comes at the expense of test grades. Even the Ivies, which stress the importance of a holistic application, would rather see a 4.4 GPA than a club t-shirt.


If you’re not involved for the application boost, it comes down to the clubs you’ve chosen and the effort required. A passion for engineering is a beautiful thing, but once you join Robotics, Science Olympiad and Model Bridge Building, you’ll soon find yourself carelessly guesstimating the answers for the Pre-Engineering worksheet you ran out of time to complete. Just because an extracurricular seems interesting doesn’t mean it’s for you.


I certainly don’t mean to imply that non-scholastic excursions are pointless or wrongheaded – far from it. Social and intellectual development benefit immensely from extracurricular involvement (and let’s not forget how amazing the Spanish Club’s quesadillas taste). That being said, a shopping trip for tortillas and shredded cheese also means an hour less to study.

In the end, everyone must find their own version of balance. Focus on activities that tell the story of who you are, but don’t sacrifice the plot to do so.