Never Enough

Anna DeNoia

The number one complaint I hear in the halls of LHS is lack of time (with “I’m hungry” coming in a close second). Most students I know barely have time to breathe, let alone get all their homework done or get a good night’s sleep. Even with the school day ending around three, it seems there is never enough time to get everything done. So what happens when you add after- school activities? Why shove anything more into your already demanding schedule?

The most obvious defense for the busy high school student is college applications. The more activities, the better to place your name a little above everyone else’s in an admissions counselor’s mind (a probably very nice admissions counselor whose shirt just really compliments their eyes wonderfully hi I’m Anna DeNoia please accept me). But that’s not the only reason some students choose to spread themselves so thin.

Take me, for example. Trust me, I understand what it means to be pressed for time. I’d say pressed is an understatement — I am constantly and completely flattened in the time department. I’m at school until at least six — often later — almost daily for the majority of the year to rehearse for the LHS plays and musicals. Add on AP classes, an after- school job and what remains of a social life, and it’s a miracle I’m still (technically) functioning. And sure, maybe I accidentally wore two different shoes to school once because I was too tired to register color, but I have never had any regrets about my packed schedule.

Despite the hectic, never ending time crunch that I live in, I am genuinely happy. As I stare blankly into my Statistics book at some ungodly hour of the night, I am content because I know that if I’d come straight home and gotten it done earlier, I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to sing or dance that day, two things I enjoy about one million standard deviations more than I enjoy Statistics.

I believe that my sad sleep schedule is a small price to pay for pursuing my passion. Every day, I consciously sacrifice what might be a more comfortable, breathable, possible lifestyle for a life of music and theater, and every day I am happier for it.

However, this sacrifice is only worthwhile because it is truly a labor of love. Some students sacrifice their time and state of mind for what will just end up being another bullet point for that nice admissions counselor to skim. Pile activity after activity, hour after hour, sleepless night after sleepless night higher and higher without a strong base of passion beneath them, and it won’t take much for it all to come tumbling down. Of course involvement is important, and we can’t ignore that extra little boost it gives to your applications, but nothing is as important as your own well being.

Extracurriculars are like a stimulant that must be taken in reasonable amounts. Pouring hour after hour into a million things things you couldn’t care less about is not worth the sacrifice it requires. Your sanity is more important than how many hours you’ve committed to this club or that club, no matter how important they seem right now. And if you do let yourself get so busy that the thought of sleep seems like a dream, the only thing that can keep you sane is serious, unwavering passion.

So are all these time-consuming, sleep-depriving, sanity-threatening after- school obligations worth the hassle? In short, if only to justify my own jam-packed lifestyle, I will say yes. Yes, spend your time after school singing or dancing or writing or painting or running or whatever it is you’ve committed your time to, but only if you wouldn’t rather spend that time anywhere else.

If you’re passionate about your activities, pursuing them is worth the time.