Your freshman year of high school is a great time to experiment and figure out what clubs and extracurriculars you’re interested in. Usually, people tend to take on multiple extracurriculars and then drop the ones they’re not that interested in as the year goes on, figuring out what they’re committed to and what they’re not. Yet, unfortunately, at the ages of fourteen and fifteen we haven’t quite gotten it all figured out, and sometimes we drop activities that we might have had potential in–things that may not have seemed all that interesting or worthwhile then, but are incredibly fascinating now. Likewise, things we thought we weren’t good at, we realize later on that if we stuck with it we would’ve gotten much better. Regret can be hard to deal with, but it’s something that nearly every high schooler goes through as they begin to focus on their commitments for the first time.
I started my freshman year of high school much like anyone else: a little shell-shocked, excited to try new things, and eager to do everything. I began high school signing up for EVERYTHING, but after a while I found what I was really committed to. Everything I’ve joined, I feel was a good decision, but there is one thing that I still wish I hadn’t done. I played soccer throughout my childhood and all through middle school. I wasn’t particularly good; I wasn’t the worst by far, but I didn’t have as much experience playing competitively as the other girls. I just loved the sport. But when high school hit, I decided not to try out for the high school team.
To this day I still don’t know why. I was too scared, maybe–I felt that I probably wouldn’t make the team. I simply didn’t think I was good enough. Girls’ soccer tryouts are famous for being brutal, and I was scared to go through that kind of physical exertion. But mostly I was just insecure, not wanting to risk getting cut from the team, or playing JV when others made varsity. I’d never tried too hard for soccer and I didn’t want to play at a higher level. Instead I ran track all throughout high school. I like running. I really do. It’s relaxing and calms me down. I didn’t, however, love it like I did soccer. As a senior I don’t regret joining the track team. Some of the best moments of my high school career were because of track. But every year when the girls’ soccer team dresses up for game days, or when they lead the cheers with the other fall sports teams at our annual pep rally, I think about what I could’ve done. I loved soccer. Maybe I could’ve been one of them, playing the sport I love, and quitting was by far one of the biggest regrets I’ve had in high school.
I think we all experience a certain level of regret for not going in a certain direction or not pursuing something to the fullest of our abilities, and that’s totally natural. Your life is made up of decisions, and everyone wonders every once in a while, “What if?” But the important thing is to remember that without the decisions you have made, your life wouldn’t be the way it is. Sure, maybe you would’ve been a great violinist. But if switching to the trombone gave you lots of new friends, maybe that’s a decision that was worth it.
For the freshmen out there, branch out! Try new things. Don’t be afraid to explore. High school opens up all sorts of new opportunities not available earlier in life. But don’t ever feel like you can’t do something because you feel you won’t be good at it or because you think there are people better than you. If you love something, put your heart and soul into it.