Getting The Most Out of High School & College

It is well accepted in today’s Americana that:

  1. Career success is highly influenced more by who you know than by what you know.  This becoming even more apparent in the digital age with the growth of social media (Facebook, Twitter), professional/social networks like LinkedIn and even social rankings such as Klout
  2. Life is about decisions and as former General Electric CEO Jack Welch said “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them and they have consequences”
  3. One never has enough time to do everything they want to do.  As Apple founder/CEO Steve Jobs said “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”

In yesterdays “Sunday Morning Shout Out” the perspective of a mother on after-school activities was shared.  The advice provided was ”do what’s best for your family’s health and well-being.” Exploring that a bit more based upon items 1-3 above it could be argued that parents should encourage their children to take part in social activities as much as possible at an early age and develop a foundation for them to continue being active in their later high-school, college and adult life.  Sure, GPA counts-but it is also true that the non-academic experience and socialization may actually be more important in their quest for a successful and meaningful life.

That means extracurricular activities are a crucial component of education.  Internships, mentors, job experience and the like while attending school, and extracurricular activities will foster personal and social growth in your chosen field, help you network, improve your interpersonal skills needed in both career and family settings and helps demonstrate a solid work ethic to prospective employers after you graduate.

Sports, clubs and committees will introduce a student to the concepts of networking, teamwork, brainstorming, and creative problem solving while providing a welcome diversion from the daily grind of academics.  Even for individuals who are not particularly a ‘people person’ or a ‘joiner’,  extracurricular programs should still be a part of their academic life. These activities can help push an individuals boundaries and help them discover new passions and personal strengths. These extracurricular activities also reflect well on a resume and provide tangible evidence of exactly the kind of well-roundedness today’s employers desire in employees.

Extracurricular activities provide a student with an outlet that helps them productively cope with academic stress. Activities can also help a student define and refine their go-to qualities.  For example, if a student volunteers their time as a tutor or teacher’s assistant, it highlights their desire to help others.  Getting involved also promotes skills needed for effective time management and leadership.  Sure, it’s not easy to balance a full and diverse schedule while in school, but there are many rewards.  Being able to do many things in time constraints is a valuable skill now required for success in so many careers that it makes good sense for students to get a handle on it now, rather than being overwhelmed by it later in life.

Now is the time for your student to think big- it’s easy to underestimate the benefits of getting involved in as many diverse activities as possible.  If your student takes on more than they can handle they can scale back.  The idea is not to allow grades to suffer, but instead to promote every bit of learning possible from their academic experience.

Life in today’s society calls for individuals to juggle many tasks, desires and commitments in harmony. Practice makes perfect and that practice is easier when an individual is a student.  It is practice a parent can help initiate and even model. It is well to remember a speech by Brian G. Dyson, former President and CEO, Coca-Cola Enterprises given at the Georgia Tech 172nd Commencement Address Sept. 6, 1996:

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit … and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for Balance in your life.


Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.

Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.

Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.

Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each together.

Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be pave.

Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find time. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings!

Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.

Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.

Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured each step of the way…


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Filed under Education, Improved Learning, Parenting

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