Extracurricular Activities

Being Involved Doesn't Give You That Much Of A Leg Up

Don't push yourself past the breaking point for something that's not that important.

Trinity Tew

Being valedictorian in high-school, having a 4.0 GPA, being in honors, holding a leadership position. We want to have all those things in high-school so we can get into a good college. We want those things in college to get a good job.

But, when you're at your nine-to-five desk job in ten years, your boss doesn't care what you did in school. Being Summa Cum Laude, President of the team, or on the dean's list doesn't matter to your employer. Of course, having and being and doing those things is a great achievement, and if you can do it, good for you.

Don't settle to be sub-par. However, when you get out of school, your boss will care about what you do THEN. The leadership you have THEN. Your work ethic THEN. Your ability in the PRESENT, not the past. Some people are simply much better on paper. Having those things on your resume is great, but it won't guarantee you the job. That's why interviews are in person. Your employer wants to know that you are capable of being personable, scalable, and work smart. Some people are book smart and graduate with all A's, but can't hold a conversation. For some jobs, that might be okay. But for most, you need to be conversational. All of the above achievements, and more, look awesome on paper, but the paper isn't what gets you the job. Or if it does, it won't keep you the job. Just because you have been successful in the past, doesn't make you a good fit for the job.

Due to extenuating circumstances, I had an unusual high-school career that restricted my opportunities. I didn't graduate with honors, in NHS, being valedictorian, and have a state-champ ring. I just graduated. For the longest time, I was so worried and stressed, pushing myself so hard. I started three AP classes, only to drop out of them three months later because I wasn't keeping my grades up in ANY of my classes. I was doing more than I could handle at the moment because I thought that my whole life was dependent upon taking AP classes. I had tunnel vision, but I was looking in the wrong tunnel.

Eventually, after many break-downs, I realized that I didn't NEED any of those things. I can only do what I can do. And I ended up doing those things very well. Sure, I wish I was able to graduate with honors, but it didn't happen. And guess what? I still got into college! In fact, I got accepted into every school I applied for. I had to choose which to go to, even though I didn't take AP classes, even though I didn't play sports, even though I wasn't in NHS. Those achievements, though quite extraordinary, are not a necessity to being successful.

So, if you're reading this, and feeling overwhelmed because you're stretching yourself in a million different ways, let go. Let go of just one thing and feel the relief. It's not life-or-death. Your life could change in a split-second just because you decided to get in the car. That "life-changing" opportunity, isn't the only thing that will change your life. "People make plans and God laughs." But it's true. What we want isn't always what we need, and it definitely isn't always what happens. Learn to make peace with the fact that you are only human and can only do so much. Don't push yourself so hard that you aren't successful in anything. Instead, be successful in a few things and see just how far that takes you.

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