How To Manage Extracurriculars as a High School Freshman
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Giebien Na in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
When you’re starting high school, you probably have a few ideas about what you’re interested in. If you’ve stuck with certain activities — like sports or the arts — for many years, then you likely feel motivated to keep going with them. But in thinking about how to prepare for college, it might feel a little overwhelming to plan your extracurricular activities while also looking toward the future. In this article, you’ll learn how to approach your extracurriculars as a freshman as well as how to balance your time and challenge yourself.
Getting Involved as a Freshman
The best thing to do as a freshman is to show commitment and participate in all the ways you can. You likely won’t be able to take on a leadership role right away, but you should find activities that interest you and then put in the work. View what you’re doing now as an investment for the future.
Upperclassmen will have leadership positions. If you find an activity that you’re passionate about — one where you could see yourself taking on more responsibility as you move through high school — you should focus on simply showing up for now. Go to all the meetings and reach out to key members to take on additional work, if there is any. You just want to put yourself out there and in a position to succeed down the line. It’s a waiting game, and you have to trust that your time will come.
You can also try to build your own club, if you want to. Maybe there’s something you and some friends are interested in, but that interest isn’t met by any of the groups at your school. If you have the time and some people to join, you can try to manage your own extracurricular group.
When it comes to managing time and keeping track of all of your responsibilities, you should aim to challenge yourself while still knowing your limits.
It’s very important that you build up some good extracurriculars while maintaining your grades. If you’re thinking about college, grades are going to be very, very important. Unless you’re participating in a tier-one extracurricular, activities outside of the classroom won’t be able to make up for a significant drop in your grades. Losing half a point on your GPA won’t be worth it.
If you’re wondering how you can balance a good mix of extracurriculars and your academic work, freshman year is a good time for you to understand what you can handle. You’ll likely be busier than you’ve ever been before. If you find that you feel stretched a bit thin, it’s OK to pull back. You should push yourself but also learn to recognize when it gets to be too much.
Figuring Out What’s Important
It’s common for students to trim back their activities as they continue through high school. Your freshman year is a good time for you to explore and learn what extracurriculars you’re passionate about. After that, you can decide what you’re truly invested in and what you’re comfortable giving up.
If you’ve typically played a lot of sports, you might find that the sports you play clash in terms of timing. Maybe you’ll discover that playing one sport in the fall leaves you feeling exhausted by the spring. You want to pursue the activities that you feel strongest in as well as the ones that you like the most. It’s OK to quit a sport or another extracurricular because you’d rather devote your time to an activity you care about more.
Try to evaluate what you’re interested in doing. What are the pros and cons? What are the benefits of doing a certain activity? Ask yourself those hard questions, and don’t be afraid to leave some extracurriculars behind. It’s all about finding the right balance.