For the Well Rounded Student, Every Minute Counts
By Aylene Sicairos
Albert Einstein once said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." If you are college driven, one of the biggest things you must keep in mind is being well rounded. Really, if you ever have a conversation about school with an adult, they will ask you if you are doing a sport or if you are in a club. It's crucial that you try to balance yourself out by not only keeping up your grades, but also by doing productive things with your time. Colleges love that, and they keep it in mind when selecting students.
Now, even though I just said you should try to do as much as possible in high school, my real point here is to give advice on how to balance it all out. Being well rounded means not only doing your best academically, but also being a leader, a teammate, a volunteer, a role model, and someone you, yourself, are proud of. For example, I am currently a senior at Coachella Valley High School and have been in cheerleading for three consecutive years. I am part of various clubs such as the Advanced Placement Club, Girl Power, the Chorus Club, and the National Honor Society, and I am ranked among the top ten percent of my class. I am the oldest of six children, and I am practically the second mother at home. On top of all that, I have taken five AP classes throughout my high school career.
Can you imagine going to school at seven a.m. every morning, then going to meetings right after school, then going to practices for a sport, and then getting home at around six every day, sometimes even as late as eight? Oh, and then on top of that, when you get home you have to help siblings with homework, clean up after you help make dinner, and somehow squeeze in homework without falling asleep after you shower around eleven p.m.? Yeah, that's just a little summary of my usual day. I took the chance to join many groups and activities, but I did it for my own benefit. Do I cry and complain at times? Of course! However, my study habits have improved as well as my time management skills. I can honestly say I'm prepared for college because of this.
Believe it or not, having so many things going on in my life has kept me on my toes and allowed me to get things done more efficiently. The way I look at it, if I have more free time to myself, I'll most likely waste it by watching Netflix all day or playing video games when I could be putting in extra study time or doing homework. Others may feel movies and video games are necessary forms of entertainment or relaxation, but I believe it's more important that students take time to explore their interests in clubs and get to know more people. I mean, you can tweet to people all day if you want, but it's much more worthwhile meeting people that have the same interests as you—face to face—as you would by joining clubs and sports. People who share an interest of singing join the Chorus Club; people who love acting join the Drama Club, etc. There are even people who form their own clubs and find people who enjoy the same interests, such as the Rubik’s Cube Club.
Now that I have given you a small a look at my life, I can tell you that taking on so many responsibilities might stress you out at times; it is only normal. I once got stress rashes during my freshman year for freaking out so much. When you have a lot on your plate, the best way to make sure you get everything done is to make a priority list. I literally jot down everything I have to do on a paper, and then sort it out in order of importance. Now, I have had to pick and choose sometimes, believe it or not, and dedicate more time to one class on a certain day, or to practice my dance routines more than my schoolwork on another. When this happens, I try to compensate for the other classes the next day and make sure I am soon up to par with everything again. If you ever get double booked on meetings on a certain day, for example, tell the club advisors. Make sure you let them know. They’ll understand. There really is no need to stress as long as you have a valid excuse.
Make sure you do not overwork yourself though. It’s also important to know your limits. I always thought I could do as much as I put on my plate and never crash and burn. I won't be specific, but it happened. Let's just say my grades started to suffer at the worst time possible in anyone's life. I had always been the type of student to never worry about grades because I never had that problem. When I was confronted with the issue, I finally realized that I had to limit my workload. There will always be a limit to what you can do, so make sure you don't overextend yourself.
Most importantly, have fun…just as long as you can remain focused on your classes because your grades are ultimately what you should make your number one priority. Squeeze in as much study time as you can…and if possible, help your parents at home as much as you can squeeze that in too. Colleges will take every thing you do into consideration, so be wise as you start out in high school. Even though it’s never too late to get involved in something new, consistency is also very important; which means it's better when you're a part of the same things for years, such as being in the same sport since freshman year, or holding a position in student government since freshman year as well.
I can honestly say all this hard work has paid off because I had so much to write about and include when it came to completing my scholarship portfolio and applying to colleges. I am currently waiting for my college acceptances. So far I’ve been accepted to Cal State Long Beach and Grand Canyon University. I am telling you, the joy from getting acceptance letters is out of this world! I can truly say that my attempt to be well rounded in high school has made me a stronger student. Finding the right balance between my academics and my activities has improved my time management skills, which will pay off in the long run as well. Now, as I prepare to graduate from high school and start a new journey in college, I am certain the skills I have gained here will be put to valuable use.
Aylene Sicairos is a giraffe obsessed, aspiring neurosurgeon who plans on ending bullying one day. Her hobbies include singing, dancing, playing video games, and binge watching Netflix.