By Kate Forman, Rugger’s Edge Advisor
I always found my home on the playing field or the track, but I had friends who were artists, performers, or who played in the band. We all had a place, a particular interest. I think it’s why we all survived high school. It’s so vital (particularly in high school) to belong. It’s so important to find your place, and it needs to be outside the classroom.
Join something. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Do this for a couple of reasons, first, high school is way more fun when you have somewhere to be at the final bell. Kids who have nothing to do after school tend not to be motivated. Playing sports kept me in line. I wanted to play; I wanted to compete, so I had to do well in my classes. Sports kept me motivated. Sports gave me a reason to get good grades. But more importantly (most importantly) sports gave me something to belong to; my friends were my teammates. I had a family with my team.
My coaches really helped me stay focused, my teammates picked me up when I was down. I felt purposeful because I belonged to a team. School isn’t enough. I promise. This is coming from a high school teacher; I love reading and writing, and I love debating controversial topics; but I didn’t really settle into those passions until much later. I didn’t want to read the novels in English class, but I did because I wanted to play. Belonging to a team is special. They are the only other people on campus who know how hard you work; they are the only ones that give their blood, sweat and tears just like you. They are the ones who know how hard it is to get done with practice and still have to finish homework. They get it. That bond is what will keep you going when it’s all too overwhelming. Join the team. Compete on Saturdays. Recover on Sundays. This will give you a sense of purpose.
Purpose leads to motivation. Motivation leads to success.
It’s a simple formula that works every time.
High school is really hard. Anyone who tells you different is lying. Between the classes, the grades, the clubs, the tests, the college applications, the job you might have, the home life you are trying to balance, and the friendships you are trying to maintain high school is a long four years. But if you engage in it, if you do the little things (every day) you can find success.
High school is the last time you can play any sport you want; the last time you can just stay after school for a club meeting and the last time you can learn for free. Once you graduate you have to pay to learn; if you play sports in college you will have to choose only one. If you want to belong to a club you better find a way to get there. So take advantage of everything that is right in front of you (for the last time).