Pro: To be successful later, sacrifice now

Torn between going out with friends or staying to study for a test, many students wonder whether or not prioritizing time and energy on schoolwork pays off in the grand scheme of life. The short answer: it does.


Cartoon by Tatiana Randolph

However, the long answer is much more complex and requires deep soul searching into what your priorities in high school are.
Many students hear the phrase “balance is key” from alumni and teachers when it comes to enjoying and succeeding in high school.
However, this balance can lead to diminished rewards in both social and academic life.
While difficult to reconcile, it can be better to focus a significant amount of energy into one over the other, and either be extremely socially or academically successful.
If you split a Thursday night between studying and going out with friends, you will likely end up doing half as well on the test and miss half of the inside jokes.
Investing in making the most of academic opportunities will set you up for the most success long-term.
By taking the time to make the most of high school, which is free education, you will be able to enter the professional world, or next steps, academically well-equipped.
Through this, you will have the best selection of people to surround yourself with.
In high school, the selection of friends is smaller and often people make friends out of convenience.
After high school, the environment you are in is often based on your interests, for example, your major/team at college or your coworkers in the workplace.
Sacrificing hanging out with friends for four years to set yourself up for the next 50 years is an easy deal, however committing to it can be hard.
To make this easier, it is important to commit to worthwhile activities.
Don’t take classes just because they will look good on your transcript; take classes that you are genuinely interested in.
This will better prepare you for your next steps, as well as making it easier to focus energy on them. Focusing energy on extracurriculars and classes you aren’t passionate about is a recipe for burnout.
Souderton has many resources to fill your resume with extracurriculars in your desired career. For example, the mentorship program is a great way to get real world experience before graduation.
While the requirement is only 20 hours, spending even more time with them can enhance your experience.
Another key piece of making it sustainable to focus primarily on school is to find methods of studing that work well for you.
Some people study better in short bursts, while others find sitting for long periods and getting in the zone is most efficient. Find a healthy and sustainable study method.
In addition to focusing on passions and finding healthy ways to study, placing worth on knowledge over reward is important.
While it can be difficult to shift values, valuing experience and what you leave high school with is so much more important than external rewards.
For some students who aspire to go to prestigious universities, it can be a let down when those colleges are too expensive or you receive a rejection letter.
In those moments, it is important to remember no matter where you end up, you are taking everything you have learned and experienced.
That will set you up to be a better candidate in the job market, get great internships and get more scholarships.
Valuing internal success over external validation is so important for emotional success in high school.
No matter where you spend your energy, it is important to fully commit.
To get desired results from anything in life, commit fully.