Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

You’ve been taught that you shouldn’t quit during your entire life. Parents, teachers, and peers alike tell you to “stick with it” and to “not give up.” When it comes to extracurriculars, they tend to be even more insistent as they are, without a doubt, a very important part of college applications. While I totally agree that there are situations where you absolutely should not quit, there are also situations where quitting is the best option. What is important, though, is that you understand when to quit, how to go about doing so, and how to find an overall balance in your life. As a disclaimer, this article is based purely on my personal experiences of quitting extracurriculars and finding a balance in life; each situation is different. For a few other perspectives on balancing school, extracurriculars, and friends, check out Sophie Stadler and Annie Schugart’s articles on the subject here and here.

Finding Balance

The most important thing, when it comes down to it, is finding a balance in your life. It doesn’t matter if you love every AP class you are taking and every club you are in if you are so busy that you don’t go to sleep until 3:00 A.M. and haven’t talked to your friends in a month. This was a realization that took me a while to reach, but it was an important one. With one exception, I have enjoyed every activity I have joined, but at one point I was rarely seeing friends outside of school and feeling stressed rather frequently. The lack of balance in my life had become a problem.

So what did I do? I took time and really thought about each and every activity I was in and every class I was currently taking. The first thing I decided was that my rigorous classes were extremely important to me, so I wasn’t going to drop AP or honors classes–it just wasn’t an option in my mind. That left me with my activities, and as much I hated to admit it, I had been spreading myself too thin. I realized that I needed one day of the weekend totally free, leading to me quitting a class I had been taking on Saturdays. I then realized that in general I was out way too late with extracurriculars, making myself unnecessarily sleep deprived. I quit two clubs, both of which would run fairly late.

How To Quit

Quitting can be an incredibly awkward situation, especially when it comes to extracurriculars you have been heavily involved in. The best thing to do is be honest. Don’t just stop showing up–talk to the leader or sponsor of the activity, and explain the situation. Most of the time, they will be understanding of how hectic your life can be with multiple extracurriculars.

I didn’t quit many things, but I quit enough that I had time to see friends, sleep, and just enjoy high school. I also didn’t quit everything at once, something I recommend others doing as well. I quit one thing at a time until I found a happy balance. You don’t want to quit all of your extracurriculars at once, as you may find that it was just one that was causing problems.

What I hope that others take from my story is to not be afraid of quitting. There is no point in doing a ton of things if you are going to end up having to make so many sacrifices. Don’t be afraid of disappointing others because of your quitting and don’t be afraid that colleges won’t love you as much. Because, in the end, you will only go through high school once, and your happiness is the most important thing.



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the author

Samantha Linder is a sophomore at Smith College where she is double majoring in neuroscience and art history. Samantha's favorite words include hippocampus, logorrhea, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

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