Jo’s Flow

Josephine Taitano, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Is it normal not to have senioritis during one’s senior year?

This will be my last year in high school, and I feel the exact opposite of lazy. In fact, the pressure I feel to succeed in everything I do is almost too much for me to handle.

This year’s workload has hit me like a truck. It may as well be the size of a truck, too. Each week, I can expect anywhere between one to four assignments for my English class, a reading assignment for Government, a worksheet every day for Calculus, plus other random assignments for Newspaper, Speech and Biology. It doesn’t help that they’re almost all AP or Dual Credit classes. I also have extracurricular responsibilities stacked on top of this, like my position as flute section leader. I’m expected to set a good example for the rest of the flute players as well as hold practices after school, even when I would much rather be relaxing or even tackling that truck-sized pile of homework. I find myself working at a frantic pace just to get everything done on time, and we’re only six weeks into school.

I guess you could say I’m the kid who does everything.

I’m not the only one, though. There are many students at this school that juggle challenging coursework, numerous sports and other activities. Sometimes, these students are genuinely passionate about everything they get involved in, but many times, I’ve witnessed kids joining an activity merely because they are expected to. Given this school’s relatively small size, it can be difficult to maintain the attendance of all the organizations and clubs we have here. Coaches and teachers pressure the students that have already joined every other organization to participate in their activity without regards to that student’s schedule, which is already filled to overflowing. In addition, legend has it that the ‘well-rounded’ individuals are the ones that are the most attractive to university admission staff, so high school students who want to enter college are encouraged to join as many extracurricular activities as they can.

This is harmful. If somebody participates in more extracurriculars, they will spread their time and energy too thin with all of them. Students will perform better if they can devote more time to fewer things.

Recently, I read an article with advice on how to get more results out of one’s life. It mentions the ‘20 slot rule’, a rule which advises that people only make 20 ‘time investments’ in their entire lifetime. This means that one can dedicate time to only a limited amount of pursuits before it’s counterproductive. High school students already invest their time into many things, including grades, friends, family and relationships. Asking them to invest their time in much more than that is detrimental to them. Many teenagers even give up more important tasks, like sleep, to keep up with the demands.

The top universities in the country know how important it is to reserve one’s time and energy for a few tasks. According to PrepScholar, a website and test prep service dedicated to improving students’ chances of getting accepted to college, the most prestigious schools are unimpressed by the ‘well-rounded’ student. Instead, they look for students who are more ‘unbalanced’: high schoolers who show extraordinary talent and dedication in one activity they care about. To them, dedication to one thing, rather than to everything, is an indicator of future success because of the focus and work ethic required.

As the kid who does everything, I urge you not to follow in my footsteps. I struggle to find time for everything that I do, which is unhealthy. Make ‘time investments’ that will truly pay off. Find the time for what matters to you.