How Extracurriculars Can Set You Up for Failure

By Amelia Lipcsei 

As college admission selectivity continues to skyrocket, pupils face increasing pressure to achieve the best grades, write outstanding essays, and participate in a variety of meaningful activities. Unfortunately, the burden placed on students by the competitiveness of the admission process has led to a plethora of people becoming involved in extracurriculars that mean nothing to them; now, many pupils engage in activities for the sole purpose of looking good on college applications—a mindset that will come back to haunt them in their future endeavors. 

High school should be a place where students have the opportunity to broaden their horizons and expand their interests. However, the tension that comes with college applications often leaves students feeling as if they need to participate in certain activities. Whether it’s joining a charity league that they have no genuine interest in or becoming involved in a club that they lack any passion for, students from all over the Bay Area seem more concerned with making themselves look good on paper than with actually finding activities that fascinate them. It’s no wonder that so many people struggle to decide on what major to go into. In fact, Jessica Conley, writer and teacher, emphasizes that “No one should overload themselves with activities they don’t enjoy because they think it will look good, and it’s often counterproductive to do so since that time could have been spent looking for something they have a genuine interest in.” Although trying new activities can allow students to grow their interests, joining clubs and organizations simply to look good on college applications not only stunts students personal development, but also blocks them from finding topics and subjects that they actually care about. 

Likewise, this mindset also sets pupils up for immense failure in the future. Picture this: a student does all of the activities that they thought would get them into their dream school, and they got in. Now what? They’ve spent all of their time and effort participating in extracurriculars that never actually brought them joy, solely to get into a school. Where do they go from there? Now, instead of building on their interests in college, they have to waste their time and money actively searching for subjects and activities that they want to pursue. Yes, getting into college is important, but a student’s happiness and growth holds much more weight than the school they attend. Eventually, people have to realize that success doesn’t come from the school someone goes to, it comes from the value that the person places on their education. When a student discovers something that they are truly passionate about, their mindset matters so much more than the name and prestige surrounding a school.