Stuffing my suitcase – Do you have room?

As high schoolers, we are called to “try new things,” to “branch out,” to create a fist-pump worthy résumé, and outstanding credentials. As freshman, we are told about all of the unique opportunities to find where we fit in, and to explore our options. As sophomores, we are given many options for higher level classes, opportunities to get involved in athletics, and clubs to designate our time to. As juniors, we are pushed to find our calling, to take that third elective, and to establish leadership abilities. As seniors, we are told to “push on” and pray that the clubs we became a part of will stand out to colleges.

Freshman year I joined multiple clubs at school and made commitments to spend hours outside of school.  I felt accomplished. I thought, “Is this what it feels like to be busy?”
To me, busy felt good.
Busy felt like cramming all of my things in a bag to travel the world with my favorite people, while dreaming of the memories I would be able to make. Busy felt like dreaming of London and Iceland, deciding which clothes will suit each location best. Busy was deciding which extra-curriculars would better suit which career, and I better start packing those clubs for all the occupations I have in mind. What I didn’t realize about this busyness was that even though I could keep cramming those clothes, shoes, and endless necessities into my bag, eventually it would start to tear and bulge.

My activities that I had committed to seemed to be filling up a lot of space.
Sophomore year I joined Student Government, Newspaper, and SHS club. I felt fulfilled. These things would look good on applications, right? These are the things I love, right? After my first column was published in The Arrow I was hooked. I felt my words meant something, and maybe I did too.
After seeing the changes made in the school through student involvement in Student Government, I was proud to be a part of something great.
After building the Homecoming float, spending time in the afternoons hanging out with some of my favorite people, and going to the Special Needs Valentine’s and Friends Formal dances, I knew that Students Helping Students club was where I belonged.
Those clubs and environments have shaped me into the person I am today. My words would not be on this page if I hadn’t said “one more extra-curricular won’t hurt.”
Meanwhile, my travel bag is full. So full that I will need to go out and buy a suitcase. My mom is going on this trip, so maybe I can squeeze a few more things in her luggage? She always has extra room.

Junior year comes along and I receive a spot for an internship at a pediatric therapy clinic. I am promoted to Features editor of the Arrow. I am elected Vice President of the Junior class. I get a part-time job at a local pizza joint. I start to babysit every now and then. At the beginning of the year I think, “This. This is my chance to prove that I can do busy, and I can do it well.”
Turns out, my mom’s suitcase was stuffed before I knew it. I still have a lot left to pack if I am going to travel the whole stinkin’ world but I keep running out of room. Where can I put these things? They mean a whole lot to me, I can’t just leave them behind.
Busyness creates a lot of things: answers for boredom, new mindsets, better excuses, and shorter days. Busyness also creates a lot of problems: impatience, discontent, and lack of time.  Busyness creates a hole within me. I have chosen opportunities that might look amazing on paper over the opportunities that might be amazing with those I love most.
Being busy makes you feel like an adult, and it cures boredom. But being busy with too much can end in taking over someone else’s suitcase. Do what you love. Go out and find your club, your sport, or where you feel most at home. But try not to choose what is good over what is best. For you and for the people you’re traveling with.

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