Weighing the pros and cons of extracurriculars


Abigail Thomas

Stephanie Portillo works with Baigalmaa Gansukh at debate practice.

Abigail Thomas, Scribe Reporter

As freshmen, we’re been told over and over again to get more involved in school right from the start. Clubs and activities help student transition into high school more easily, and it is a faculty goal to get everyone involved. But why? Does joining extracurricular activities really help us? Does it really mean we’re going to be successful? Now, nearly a semester into high school, here are the some advantages and disadvantages of joining extracurricular activities.

  1. Advantage: Joining extracurriculars helps you meet people with similar interests 

We’re all new to high school, and I’m pretty sure we can all benefit from meeting people with the similar interests as us. “Sports are a fun way to make friends and stay active,” Madi Dohrn, an avid swimmer, said.  Sure, we can make friends during the day, but when we’re expected to come to class and get to work, socializing isn’t a priority. During the day, we’re focused on getting worked done. At clubs and activities, that’s where we can really have fun. There is a club for almost every interest, so you’re sure to find a place what people like you can meet and share ideas.

  1.   Disadvantage: Some clubs can be stress-inducing and require a lot of after school commitment, making it harder to manage time

Let’s take this club for, newspaper, for example. I go to school all day and take a full schedule of classes.  I am expected to do my homework and maintain my grades. When I get to newspaper, I am expected to not only write my articles, but research the topic and interview students and teachers, who don’t always respond in a timely manner. What I’m saying here is that clubs are time consuming and require a certain level of commitment. We aren’t looking to increase stress, we want to reduce it. I know it’s early, but I’ve learned quickly to involve myself in the appropriate amount of extracurriculars. I’d rather be involved in one or two and perform to the best of my ability than overcommit myself and stress out.

This isn’t something that only freshmen students struggle to manage.  As we progress through school academic expectations can also rise.  Upperclassmen have to work to balance so many things on their plate that the idea of extracurriculars can seem like something to avoid.  When asked about his schedule and stress level, SHS senior Oskar Malkiewicz responded, “I haven’t slept in the last two days.”

  1.  Advantage: Some clubs help reduce stress 

I know, I know…It sounds like I’m contradicting myself here. But, activities can reduce stress, also. Most activities in which people get involved are things they enjoy. Think about band. Band requires practice time, rehearsal time, concerts, performances, just to name a few things. That’s overwhelming to say, but band is fun. It’s a place to hang out with friends, a place to be yourself.

An activity that interests Maria Attaallaa, a freshman at Schaumburg, is marching band. She looks forward to coming to practice every day. Everyone can find at least one club that makes them feel the same way.

  1.  Advantage: Joining clubs and sports give you life skills that you don’t necessarily get in school

Skills like time management and collaboration are cemented and improved by going to clubs and activities. Without going to clubs and activities, you don’t gain much exposure to these different things. Hannah Wishnew said that band provided her with a lot of skills. “Time management is a big one. I’d say, physical stamina too and memorization of music. Memorizing skills can be applied anywhere.”  Certainly, school makes us juggle and balance our homework and studying for multiple classes.  But learning to manage time to pursue non-academic passions is a different challenge.

  1.   Advantage: Looks good on college applications

I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t think about how colleges perceive extracurriculars. Sure, good grades are the most important thing, but think about what being involved in an extracurricular says to a college…”Wow, she’s really dedicated,” or if you don’t do any extracurriculars, “did this person spend her day in her room studying, reading books, and watching Netflix?” We need to be well-rounded citizens and our resumes and college application should reflect that variety Joining extracurriculars is the best way to do this. You can certainly apply to college without extracurriculars, but are you really representing yourself as well as you could?

  1.  Advantage: You can give back to the community

This is always good. Clubs like NHS are committed to community service. Join clubs, and put yourself out there. When you give back, you make yourself feel better and be better. Here in Schaumburg, we have the opportunity to help people in need. Everyday we take things we have for granted, and to help others also get those things can help you feel better about yourself. Don’t lie, you’ve felt that feeling before.

Final Score: 6-1

I guess what I’m saying here is freshmen year, and I’m assuming the rest of high school, can be overwhelming. Yes, sometimes extracurricular can contribute to those feelings, but when managed properly, extracurricular actives offer students opportunity, both socially and academically, that just aren’t available anywhere else. I don’t have all the answers; I’m only a freshmen. It’s just my opinion…but give clubs a try. We’re only in high school once. Let’s make the most of it!

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