I was a pretty busy kid after school, being a pretty serious dancer as well as a drama geek. Plus, I did my share of part-time and summer work. During the school year, I was a part-time typist (yup, this was before computers!) for a company that specialized in film and stage scripts. (I'm totally sure this job sparked my interest in the writing/editing field, though I'll admit I almost quit when I had to transcribe several episodes of The Twenty Minute Workout. Can you say boring? Or guilt-inducing?). During the summer, I was a theatre director at an overnight camp. (Loved the power. Gave all the kids I liked the good roles. The mean kids were trees.)
There's been all this stuff in the media lately about how high schoolers are burning out with all their extra-curricular activities and part-time jobs. I've seen it happen, and I'm here to say if you're finding it hard coping with a surplus of activities, lighten up that load! It's sooo not worth the toll it could take on your health/sanity, and your relationships with friends and family members. I was fine in high school, but in my second year of university, when I was juggling a full course load with two part-time jobs and three dance classes a week, I did have a breakdown of sorts. A nice long rest--from everything--helped. When I felt better, I cut the part-time work down considerably, and made myself be content with only one dance class per week.
These days, high schoolers in my neck of the woods have to complete forty hours of community volunteer work in order to graduate. This is on top of the extra-curriculars and the paying work! It can all be done, and indeed, should be done--all these things give you such a great sense of satisfaction, and can help you decide on a future path--but again, take it easy. Don't do too much, especially if you're having trouble handling it all. Pace yourself.
A word about the volunteer stuff. One summer when I wasn't working as a theatre dictator, I volunteered on the heart ward at a children's hospital. Such a gratifying experience. I didn't do any volunteer work again until I got married, and at that point, my husband and I started doing a weekly sing-song at another local hospital. We stopped when we had our kids, and I only recently returned to volunteer work, at a home for the aged. I spent my first afternoon there this past weekend. I had it in my head that this was going to be a 'chore'--albeit a satisfying one--but the joke was on me. I spent the most delightful afternoon accompanying one of the residents to a concert that was taking place on the main floor. The singer was great--she even did some stuff from Wicked, my new obsession--and the woman I sat with regaled me with hysterically funny stories about her childhood and the home.
As a bonus, the afternoon got me thinking about a possible new book idea...
Feel free to comment about balance, volunteer work, or anything else I've written about (though you may already have talked about your part-time jobs and extra-curricular activities in response to the other great posts on this week's theme!).