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How do I get involved in clubs and activities when I am so busy myself?I recently...

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crazygurl19 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted September 25, 2011 at 9:58 AM via web

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How do I get involved in clubs and activities when I am so busy myself?

I recently joined the basketball team since last week. As a student, I want to be more involved and actually join some clubs to be active. But, I always have basketball practice everyday, after school. I want to join this club called Speech and Debate. This club also have meetings after school and everyday too! I have honors classes so I always have a lot of homework to do. I want to be able to get home and finish my homework so I can get enough sleep for the next day. People told me that I should join as many clubs as possible but I'm struggling trying to join just one club! What should I do? :(

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sweetskittles24 | Student, Grade 11 | Salutatorian

Posted September 25, 2011 at 10:12 AM (Answer #2)

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Wait until next year! You don't have to rush things in highschool, i mean you're still in grade 9. Relax! :) You have lots of time

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 25, 2011 at 10:20 AM (Answer #3)

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I was going to give you some pointers on managing your time wisely, but I can see that you don't have much extra time to spare. As far as the conflict with basketball practice and the possibility of joining the speech and debate team, it appears that you may have to choose between the two on this matter. I have actually had teacher/sponsors who scheduled club meetings and practices around some students' schedules, but this kind of flexibility is rare. I doubt that your basketball coach will alter practice times, so your only chance may be to talk with the speech/debate sponsor about your dilemma. There might be some way that the sponsor will allow you to meet with him/her at a different time and still be a part of the club.

As far as your homework, you should still have enough time to complete that work when you finally get home, but you will need to be dutiful in that regard (it sounds like you have no problem there). Sometimes it's just not possible to be in every club that you'd like, so you may have to decide between basketball and debate.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 26, 2011 at 8:37 AM (Answer #4)

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I'm sorry, but I'm simply not one of those teachers, parents, or students myself, who believes joining as many extra-curricular activities as possible is a positive thing.

I've always been more of the opinion that you should do one or two things you really love, and put your heart into them.  The fact is, at the end of high school, you will not actually keep in touch with 100 friends.  By the time you finish college, you are lucky to have any friends from high school with whom you still keep in touch.  In my experience, that handful comes from committing time and energy into one or two things, rather than spreading yourself thin and only giving everything (and everyone) the minimum.

As far as college applications go, today, I think colleges and employers aren't really looking for "Mr. Everything."  I think they are looking for someone who is committed, shows growth and potential, and shows loyalty.  If your reason for joining as many clubs as possible is to meet more people, try sitting at different tables every day in the lunch room.  If it is to boost your elegibility for college entrance and scholarships, work on getting straight A's and writing excellent essays.  If your grades, test scores, or writing ability is outstanding, in my opinion, you will be just fine.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:23 AM (Answer #5)

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It's hard, but you do have to prioritize. Speech and Debate is a very big commitment. So are teams. Teams have seasons though. Why not join a club after basketball season ends? If you do one activity at a time, you won't feel as overwhelmed.
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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 26, 2011 at 11:41 AM (Answer #6)

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I would join some clubs that offer lunchtime meetings. Speech and Debate is quite a commitment, but it takes up the same space on a resume or college application as Key Club, National Honor Society, or Academic Decathlon. Find something that requires a different time frame if you are trying to get involved in a club.

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted September 26, 2011 at 12:12 PM (Answer #7)

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I agree with #4 - joining everything is not a good solution. You will just wind up exhausted and you will also frustrate the adviser and other club members if you can't keep your commitments to them. Being a highly valued and productive member of just one or two groups is far better than trying to join everything.

One thing to consider -and I realize that you are only in the ninth grade - is which groups will actually offer experiences that will help you in your future life. If you are thinking about a career like law or politics, then Speech and Debate would be an excellent choice. If not, then what activities make sense for you?

Another way to get involved is to find some activities that have a more compact time frame. Are there activities that occur once a year that need volunteers to work on them intensively for just a week or two? For example, you could volunteer to be an usher or ticket seller for a music or theatre production, help with an annual charity fundraiser like a walkathon or race, or compete individually in a public speaking contest or a photography show.

Ask around, and find out what other people are involved in. But don't sign up until you've asked plenty of questions and know what you are getting into. It also would be appropriate to ask a club adviser if you can sit in on a meeting or two to see what the group is all about before making a committment to join. This way you can gather information, and can make a graceful exit with no hard feelings if the club isn't going to be a good fit for you.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 26, 2011 at 3:04 PM (Answer #8)

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All the advice given above is excellent.  I especially agree with those who suggested that you talk to teachers in your own school to get their advice about how to handle this problem.  Surely they have had students with similar problems in the past, and in fact they may know of students who are currently enrolled in your school who are dealing successfully with this problem right now.  Teachers really admire students who show a genuine interest in their educations (I know that I do!), and often they are willing and able to make accommodations for students with conflicting demands on their time.  One piece of advice I would give you is that you should never hesitate to ask your teachers for help.  This is true (perhaps especially true) when you get to college.  Teachers are almost by definition people who love learning, and they generally want, very much, to help others to learn and to get the most out of school.

One more bit of advice: don't simply try to fill up your record with "activities." Remember that learning should come first and foremost. Good luck!

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megan-bright | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted September 29, 2011 at 6:37 AM (Answer #9)

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I've never been able to balance school work with extracurricular activities. I know that some of my peers were able to make straight A's, be in many extracurricular activities, maintain a part time job, and still have a lot of fun during their free time. I never understood how they could balance it all, and I used to feel bad that I couldn't balance. I don't feel bad at all about it now. You may just have to do like I did and focus on what is the most important. To me, it was grades and GPA. Then choose one or two extracurricular activities to be a part of each year.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 17, 2012 at 10:15 PM (Answer #10)

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This is harsh reality, but I've always said three things are possible in college (and to some extent high school).  You can have a fun social/ athletic life, you can get good grades, or you can be well rested.  Pick ANY two and you will be ok.  If you want to have a great time and make great grades, you are going to have to learn to deal with less sleep.  To be honest, most people get too much sleep as it is.  Pick a few nights to cut back on sleep and get more work done.  Just be sure to get rested on the weekend so you will be ready to go for the next week.

Kristen Lentz

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