Dear Merrie D. Anne,
COVID-19 has restricted sports, clubs, and activities since last March, and they’re just now opening back up. I don’t know what to join. I want to be able to give my all to every activity I do, and I want to have enough time for school, work, and sleep. What do I do?
Dear Stretched Thin,
I want to start by saying that you being aware of your ability to not handle several extracurricular activities is good and responsible. I’m going to offer three levels of advice.
A level one situation would look like this: You have a job, you take hard classes, you get burned out easily and you can’t handle stress well. This is what you should do.
Look at the schedules of each of your activities. Consider what activities will coexist with each other, and cut out the ones that won’t.
Make a pros and cons list for each activity, this will help you decide what is most important to you.
Pick only one or two of the activities that you’re interested in, ones that you are passionate about, and commit to those.
A level two situation would look like this: You have a reasonable amount of free time, but you don’t want to get overwhelmed and overworked. You still have homework and have to have time to eat and sleep. This is what you should do.
Rank your activities by importance and then pick your top three.
Buy or make a calendar or planner. Organization will be your best friend in terms of not going crazy. Plan out when your matches, games, or meetings will take place. If you decide after planning your week or month that you need more free time, then drop down to two activities.
Once again, organize absolutely everything and keep your planner with you.
Clearly communicate to all your coaches, bosses, advisers, and directors that you will be busy. Communication is extremely important in this case.
Remember that some bosses, coaches, advisers, and directors are okay with being flexible with their schedules. Take time to talk to them about other things you might be doing. They will appreciate your honesty.
It’s ok if you don’t have the same interests as you used to, do not feel pressured to do the same clubs or sports that you have done in the past. Only do something that you actually want to.
COVID-19 has depressed many by canceling sports, and you may want to rush into things because you are excited about having the opportunity again. Think through your decisions to join things, and if you can’t drive, make sure to include your parents in the decision.