Amid Crowded Schedules, Students Discover Themselves

By Leo Bremond

As students hurry to exit the building on Friday at 3:10 to start their weekend festivities, senior Caroline Loeb rushes to the F train to arrive on time for her 3:45 voice lesson before heading home later in the evening to rest up for her daylong music classes at Juilliard on Saturday morning.

Loeb takes classes, performs concerts, and even earns grades in her classes at Juilliard on Saturdays. This means that during the week, in addition to her classes at LREI, she also has to prepare and work hard to do well in those classes.

At LREI, there are many students with busy schedules like Loeb. Senior Jack Cameron rarely participated in extracurricular activities until this year. He decided to start exploring extracurricular activities this year because it was his final year and “why the hell not.” Since he started, he says he wants to get even more involved. “Life is too short to sit in bed all day,” Cameron says.

Students who participate in extracurricular activities seem to share common thoughts on the effect of participating in extracurricular activities. These students repeated that having a busier schedule teaches them discipline and organization.

Senior Davis Schwartz is involved in track five days a week and also works at a record shop. This participation has led Schwartz to learn more about himself and how he works best. “When I get home from track,” Schwartz says, “I get straight to work. I wouldn’t do that before I was on track.” Davis feels like having less time to procrastinate helps him sit down and focus on his work.

While these students are trying different after school activities, they also develop their social skills, says Cameron. “When I am forced in a room with a bunch of people,” he says, “they see who I am.” Cameron has now met and become friends with students from all grades. He can now express himself with his new gained confidence. “I feel a lot better with myself,” he says with a hint of smile.

Caroline Loeb, feels similarly about her daylong classes at Juilliard. “I think if I were to never have gone to Juilliard, I wouldn’t know as much about myself as I do,” she says. Her participation in the music program on Saturdays has also helped her with her college process because without these outside activities, Loeb says that she “wouldn’t know where [she] was going” in life if she hadn’t participated in the music program.

However, doing extracurricular activities doesn’t only come with its perks, it also comes with its “cons,” Loeb says. She says that “at times it is not fun and takes away my Saturday night.” Doing extracurricular activities takes up a lot of time and interferes with students’ social lives. “The things I want to do for fun, I am not able to do,” Davis Schwartz says. Jack Cameron also says that he would hang out with friends after school more often before joining the play, which is “disappointing and annoying at points” for him. For these students, one question remains: Why is it worth it?

For Cameron, doing extracurricular activities “is worth it in the long run.” He now feels like he has “more energy” and feels like a more “interesting person” because of his multifarious passions. Being part of the Juilliard school of music has taught Caroline “how to handle hard situations” and she now feels more confident in “uncomfortable situations.” Caroline feels that her participation in extracurricular activities has changed her life. “It has given me a lot of freedom,” she says. “It has given me the right skills to do what I want in my life.”

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