Activities: Depth or Breadth?
Is it better to be committed to one thing your entire high school career or to pursue multiple interests? Both are good. Participating in a sport, club, or other after-school activity for three or more years shows that you are dedicated. On the other hand, involvement in many activities demonstrates that you are willing to try new things. Both allow you to pursue your interests and to become more involved in your community. This leads us to the question: Is one truly better than the other?
One Activity for a Long Time
When you continuously participate in a club, year after year, you show that you are loyal. Often times as you grow and improve in your activity, you take on more responsibility. Your commitment and expertise enable you to lead the newer members of the group. For example, my brother has been swimming for over sixteen years. His commitment to the sport and his dedication to his teammates have made him a leader on his high school swim team and a strong member of his club team. He has risen as a leader on his summer league team, now coaching younger swimmers. It is because of his expertise that he has taken on leadership roles, in addition to spending time at swim to train and improve. When applying to colleges, he only had swim related activities under extracurriculars. Though he didn’t have the time to join any other clubs, his heavy involvement and dedication to swimming showed that he was a loyal, hardworking person.
Multiple Activities for a Short Time
When you join different clubs for one or two years at a time, you show that you are willing to try new things. Also, through joining clubs, you are able to meet new people, foster connections, and discover what you are interested in. One of the most important things you learn if you are a part of multiple clubs is the importance of time management. If you overcommit yourself, then you won’t be able to balance your schedule, adding more stress to your life. This year, I joined multiple clubs and activities at my high school. I started cheerleading, joined two leadership programs, and became a member of my high school robotics team. These activities were in addition to the five hours of dance classes I take at a local studio. Next year, I want to add the swim and dive team along with honors societies to my already busy schedule. I am trying new things that interest me. Unlike my brother, I do not have one sport or club that I dedicate all of my time to. Instead, I have learned how to manage my time in a different way to accommodate my many interests. When I apply to colleges, they will see how involved I am with my school community and that I can balance my time between multiple activities.
All in all, there is no “right” answer. You must do what is best for you. Both long-term and short-term commitments are important, but not everything is solely about college. It is important to find what you are passionate about, because that will naturally incentivize you to learn how to manage your time wisely. Clubs and sports teach you how to prioritize what is important to you and necessary for success. If you like something, you should invest your time in it. If you hate it, you don’t have to continue to giving up your time. The most important thing is finding what you like to do, and engaging with it as much as your heart and your schedule will allow.