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Don’t Let Extracurricular Strain Steal Your Peace

By: Hannah Snedaker/Senior Writer

It’s the end of eighth grade and the teachers’ words, “get involved in high school” and “join those extracurriculars–colleges love you for it-” are ringing through your ears. You’ve heard that “extracurricular speech” over and over again from a plethora of teachers. These words taunt you repeatedly and echo through your brain almost everyday. Admittedly, those teachers are right. Being involved is beneficial, but spreading yourself too thin is not what you need to be successful. 

My whole school career has set me up for future success. I have been an Advanced Placement (AP) and honors student since seventh grade. This “extracurricular speech” has been preached to me, and many of my peers, since I can remember. My freshman year of high school I signed up for every club and sport I knew I could fit into my schedule. Those included basketball, track and field, Leo Club, volunteer work, and so much more, which took up most of my time and effort. It drained me. Everyday I would come home and feel suffocated by the amount of stress and schoolwork on my plate. Yes, I did serve myself this theoretical dinner of stress and work, but I was told to make sure I became involved. I’m sure my peers were also impacted by these words we had heard so consistently. Many of them participated in the same amount of extracurriculars and the same rigorous classes as I did. 

As freshman year went on, I was beginning to feel detached from everyone and everything around me. I had drowned myself in what I felt I needed to do, not what I wanted to do. All of my friends were part of the same activities as me. They seemed fine, so I thought I could keep pushing myself and it would get better. Freshman year was coming to a close and COVID-19 hit. This decimated those extracurriculars I had worked so hard to maintain in my life. Suddenly I felt like I could breathe again. I had a break to focus on myself and my schoolwork. I started thinking and reflecting on what I needed to do to maintain my mental health in the next three years of high school. My mom and I decided that putting myself first is what I needed. From my sophomore year to my ongoing senior year, I only did the activities I enjoyed and volunteered whenever it made sense for my schedule. I found my balance, and I wasn’t suffocating myself anymore. At this point, I still make sure I am active and have a solid extracurricular schedule to keep myself busy. I maintain a college checklist, and keep my mental health intact by maintaining my balance. 

High schools across the country teach students they need to have a long list of extracurriculars. Even society pressures teens to be doing everything at once. If you aren’t participating, you aren’t achieving your utmost social and academic status. While these activities are very important, they make many students feel pressured to take on multiple activities to be the most wanted, successful, and popular. Students of all ages need to be taught the importance of mental health and how to balance a healthy schedule between extracurricular activities and academics.


Learn why extracurriculars are significant for college acceptance in “Extracurriculars Matter — To You and To Colleges.”


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Hannah Snedaker
Hannah Snedaker
Hannah Snedaker is in 12th grade. She is currently the treasurer of SADD and member of multiple clubs including, NHS, Leo Club, and Geocaching. Outside of school, Hannah enjoys hanging out with friends and family.
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