Is participation in extracurricular activities linked to success?


Lany Campbell, Ramya Raja, and Grace Wood strike a pose to represent students that participate in extracurricular activities versus people who do not.

Marissa Dintino, Staff Writer

Often, a person’s ability to succeed is judged based upon the amount of extracurriculars they participate in. Those who are not involved in activities outside of school are often shamed and stereotypically thought to be less successful in life. These views have become a natural thought for many, and have often been statistically proven true, with some outliers of course. However, is it possible that these stereotypes affect our motivation for academic success?

Diana Rodgers, president of the student-led club the Gay-Straight Alliance (also known as the GSA), said “school work comes as a priority for me, but I balance it with work for the GSA”. Despite the heavy stress that comes with being a senior in high school and applying to colleges, Rodgers expressed that she is “proud of her grades” and she is making straight A’s so far. Overall, Rodgers seems like a responsible and motivated student. Although being the president of a club is a time consuming job that requires quite a bit of responsibility, would there be a different effect for an activity that occurs multiple times a week?

Austin Seawright is a sophomore sousaphone player in the NFHS marching band, a tuba player in the Wind Ensemble, and is in the process of applying for and possibly joining Beta Club, Science Olympiad, Science Ambassadors and Tri-M Music Honors Society. Despite juggling multiple activities, applications and clubs, Seawright feels that he maintains his grades through time management, as he states, “Marching band has significantly shaped me as a student”. Because of the numerous rehearsals per week after school, Seawright believes that he “has to finish assignments earlier than other students” in order to turn them in on time. Through this, Seawright feels that he has developed time management skills and that school work is not quite as stressful after the marching band season, no matter how much work may be assigned. Overall, Seawright is an honorable and accomplished student, as well as a significant participant in several activities.

Jennifer Arena, a freshman who claims to be completely uninvolved in the school other than going to class as required also, feels quite unaccomplished. Arena feels that the transition from middle to high school was quite intense, as she stated, “In middle school, a grade drop would be from an A to a B, but now a grade drop seems more drastic, like a good solid A to a failing grade all of a sudden”. She feels as though she “wastes her life contemplating how she wastes her life” and often procrastinates school work until the early hours of the morning on the day assignments are due. Though Arena does seem quite harsh on herself, she does try her best and works to meet deadlines and goals that she sets for herself. After all, transitioning from middle to high school is always a bit rough at first. Unlike Seawright and Rodgers, Arena feels less motivated in school, assumedly because of her lack of participation.

Although the stereotype of extracurricular participation effecting success does seem to be true for Rodgers, Seawright, and Arena, there are definitely exceptions. There is no specific reason why these stereotypes seemed to prove true for many, but several theories explain several different ways this is possible. Overall, the majority of students at North Forsyth High School who are involved in extracurricular activities seem to care more about time management and due dates, and those who do not participate outside of class itself seem less motivated to succeed.