How To Be Ambitious

Maryann Matt, Staff Writer

Balancing extracurricular activities and academics is a hard formula to get right because it’s different for everyone. We each have our own things going on, different schedules to get accustomed to, and amounts of sleep we require. But I think one thing could help people who have a lot to do and only so much time to do it: planning. Time management skills are essential for ambitious students who want to achieve as much as they can at the high school level.

As students aim to achieve higher academically in high school, whether it be for a good GPA or rank, many choose to take AP/OnRamps/Dual Credit classes. But don’t just become a slave to your GPA and take these classes because of the few extra points it gives. Understand the amount of time these classes take up and make sure they align with what you want to accomplish with your time. If you want to be involved in a ton of extracurricular activities, have a job, and balance your relationships on top of that, then have a discussion with yourself on the best course of action to take. Doing all of that stuff is not easy and will not be easy on you either.

Extracurricular activities are just that: extra. If there’s a feeling that you have too much on your plate, but you feel the need to do it, then understand the responsibilities you have right now and how they coincide with the ones you want to have. Don’t take on something else if you don’t have the time or the energy to do it well. If you have stuff going on in your life that is going to prevent you from doing your best at something, then don’t do it. There’s nothing worse than only being able to halfway do something, so know when to not get involved.

Jobs are another aspect that many high schoolers want to jump into. Talking to other high schoolers about where the best jobs are and how they are coping with stress, homework, extracurriculars, etc. before deciding it’s time to get a job, might give a head’s up as to what kind of stress level they’re dealing with. Jobs can be something that makes or break you in terms of overcommitment. Learning to say no is an essential tool for any ambitious person, for their sake and the others around them. Jobs should not just be about making money, but a well thought out decision for you and your experience in the workplace.

Self-care should also be considered in your decision-making process. Concern for your mental health is very important because it can be very dangerous to find yourself into a life you don’t enjoy. Spending time with loved ones is important to mental health to give yourself a break from the fast pace that everything around you seems to be going at. Slowing down and considering what’s really important is a key aspect of coming to terms with what you can and can’t do. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your mental health for anything. Take pride in what you have done and what you can do, instead of focusing on what you haven’t done and can’t do.

In conclusion, think through all the things you wish to accomplish, but make sure you take into account your mental health and your schedule. Leave some downtime for yourself, and continue to be ambitious.