Upperclassmen stress quality over quantity for extracurricular success

September 23, 2013 — by Michelle Leung

Senior Lauren Casey-Clyde marches at the head of the sweaty, fatigued marching band during one of many rehearsals under the hot California sun.

Senior Lauren Casey-Clyde marches at the head of the sweaty, fatigued marching band during one of many rehearsals under the hot California sun. As tiring as the hard work can be, she loves the extracurricular she excels in.
Casey-Clyde would not be able to spend the extra time she does with marching band and with her own musical instruments had it not been for her decision to narrow her extracurriculars and focus on what she loves: music.
“By junior year I had figured out that robotics was not exactly my thing and neither [was] long-distance running,” Casey-Clyde said. “So junior year I focused on music even more.”
Casey-Clyde participates in multiple aspects of the music program: she leads band as one of four drum majors, performs in concert band and jazz band and mentors younger students through the Music Education with Saratoga High (MESH) program. 
Casey-Clyde also gives private music lessons in the euphonium to several freshmen after school, attends several school rehearsals for band and practices her two instruments, euphonium and trombone, at home for two to three hours.
Casey-Clyde does not regret choosing music over her other activities. 
“I have loved [music] and have found every performance, meet and practice rewarding,” Casey-Clyde said. “It's pretty clear I have came to my own conclusion that music is my passion.”
Although Casey-Clyde found her happiness in music, she believes that students should try different activities before settling on one or two. It isn’t the time spent on an activity that is most important, Casey-Clyde believes it is the personal rewards.
“I have found [that] high school is a great time to experiment with different activities so one can find their greatest passions,” Casey-Clyde said.
Like Casey-Clyde, junior Jessica Uong also participates in fewer activities: cheer, which practices every day, and volunteering at the Children’s Recovery Center in Campbell. 
Uong believes that students can get a sense of teamwork when focusing on one activity that they otherwise couldn’t when trying to “do it all.” According to Uong, not only are the members of the cheer team teammates, but they are also friends. 
“Cheer does take up a lot of time,” Uong said. “[But] when I’m doing cheer, it feels good to know that I belong on a team. When you spend so much time together, you get really close.”
Besides cheer, Uong is grateful for the personal rewards she gets from concentrating all her remaining time on her volunteering four hours a week at the Children’s Recovery Center in Campbell. 
“If I only went for an hour every couple of weeks, I wouldn't be so attached to the kids and I wouldn't be on that emotional level with them,” Uong said. 
Uong believes that the emotional connections she has with both her cheer teammates and the children at the Recovery Center are worth more than participating in a variety of extracurriculars could ever be. 
“I think focusing on one or two [activities] is more beneficial than trying to do  everything,” Uong said. “Sure, you can do everything, but you would never get to experience that emotional attachment you get when you channel all your time into one thing.”
 
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