Editorial: What it means to be in high school


By Hannah Kim and Junie Kah

Time is a valuable resource. This notion is the cornerstone of the thought process of most students, SIS and elsewhere. While at many times it is important to ensure that no time is wasted, such mentality of students can easily lead to the heightening of excessive stress and academic competition. Because time is a scarce and valuable resource, it is also often the excuse given for lack of participation in various activities, ranging from sports to drama productions. Yet being involved in school activities and events is an essential part of the high school experience, opportunities many students should better take advantage of at SIS.

The common misconception is that being highly involved in activities and academic success cannot go hand-in-hand. On the surface, it seems as if activities are simply taking away from time that one could be spending studying. For example, many student-athletes give-up sports throughout their high school careers because they feel that their involvement in athletics has the potential to interfere with their studies. Yet there are several flaws in this thought process. First of all, it demonstrates an overemphasis on studying to a point that it may be counterproductive. Many students attest to the fact that they are more productive when they are involved in sports or a school activity to compensate for the time they lost. Many students with academic achievements, both current and graduated, have been involved in sports and other extracurricular activities. That is to say that even if one allocates all of one’s time into studying, the amount of time spent studying does not necessarily equate to academic success. Currently, it seems that solutions are being sought for the wrong problem. The problem, in many cases, may be how we utilize our free time, rather than how much free time we allow ourselves.

In terms of academic performance and involvement in extracurricular activities, stress is another important factor that students often fail to take into consideration. One of the reasons behind the high levels of stress that students attest to is the lack of time spent on activities they truly enjoy and can participate in without pressure of being assessed. On the other hand, students who engage in extracurricular activities like athletics, drama productions, and other clubs live a relatively more balanced lifestyle, which is ultimately beneficial to their mental state during a time and in an environment that may put extreme stress upon students.

Yet above all, extracurricular activities provide students with a joy that cannot be found in studying alone: the opportunity to meet and interact with new people in a non-classroom setting. A large aspect that differentiates high school life from that of middle school is the amount of interaction between students of different grade levels. This could happen through classes, of course, but for many underclassmen who do not take classes with upperclassmen, the primary method to get to know more upperclassmen is through extracurricular activities. Personal relationships is undoubtedly a large and important aspect of life, but one that is sometimes unfortunately pushed off of students’ priority lists.

This is not to undervalue the importance of studying and having a focus on academics. Indeed, extracurriculars are extra for a reason and student-athletes are students before athletes. Yet there indeed is a need to rethink what a high school experience should entail. Sometimes, it is more about the pen, the paper, and the number.