The Student Agenda

Exploring Why Students Take on Unwanted Tasks to Impress Colleges

Payton Wozny, Editor-In-Chief

High school is a very competitive environment with students all battling for, seemingly, the same thing; colleges. Although there are schools for everyone, students still feel immense pressure to take on extra curriculars and difficult classes to do anything that will set them apart from the rest of their peers. Whether it be starting a new club, earning a civic seal, or boosting their GPA by taking on as many AP’s as possible, students have been adding more to their plate than they can chew, and most of them are things they don’t even like.

Clubs are a great way to meet people with similar interests, and they give an opportunity to spend time doing things students are passionate about. Unfortunately, competitive students have turned to clubs to try and get an edge over their peers in colleges’ eyes, even if they are not interested. Often, students who do not like the club they are in do not go many meetings or events. This lack of investment can be damaging to the clubs, especially if they are relying on the student. In addition, not participating in the event will reap no benefits for them because they will not be picking up on any skills you could learn from these activities. Clubs are time consuming, and if you are not fully committed, it probably isn’t worth any of your time at all.

Volunteering in the community is a great way to see change in the world and to give back by doing hands on things. It can bring about life lessons or a sense of purpose. However, it can be time consuming and is not always enjoyable. Service hours are not a requirement for graduation at Oakton (it may be required for some courses), but students who earn enough hours can earn a civic seal, which is simply a sticker on your diploma. Some students take volunteering even further by joining a philanthropic organization, like National Charity League or Young Men’s Service League, or club. As said before, volunteering is great for yourself and the community, but it’s not right for everyone. You should be interested in the work you are doing, so you should rethink your charity work if you are only doing it for the sticker. Before committing yourself to volunteer work, you should make sure you have enough time and energy to truly commit.

February is when course selection takes place, and suddenly, students begin to stress over their futures and spend way too much time trying to carefully pick each course. Despite what you may think, deciding which AP’s or electives to take can be very challenging. Many students take harder courses in subjects they are interested in or good at, but where is the line of too many difficult classes? Frankly, the perfect balance is different for every student. Each class will have a require different things; some may need 45 minutes of textbook reading or quizzes every class period, others might offer work time in class or few assessments. It’s up to the student to determine how much they can handle. Unfortunately, many students feel pushed to take on as many strenuous classes as they can, even if they don’t want to. Taking too many demanding classes increases stress, causes many late nights, and takes time away from other activities. The material can also be very challenging, and lacking interest in the subject will only make it harder to learn. It’s important, even a good idea, to challenge yourself in school, but try not to overwork yourself. Is a GPA boost really worth all of your time and energy?

Basically, it is good to challenge yourself in school and to participate in other activities, but realistically you can not do it all. Students who pack their schedules too tight often feel overwhelmed and can not give 100% to all of their plans. As students, we have to balance school, family, friends, and sometimes sports. Adding other things into the mix only digs the rabbit hole even deeper. Although these tasks can be beneficial, it’s important to remember that we can’t do it all. Picking and choosing endeavors can be challenging, but it is important for success.