The Stupidity of Extra-Curricular Activities

As I begin my applications for University and the necessary scholarships associated with these courses and accommodation, I notice that the questions are exactly what I expect them to be: What extra-curriculars do you do? How have you made a difference in your community? How have you overcome difficulty? What are your hobbies? These are questions which many universities will consider to be more important then the actual marks you receive. These ‘higher powers’ want you to show them all the extra things you’ve done and how well rounded a person you are. They want you to be more, more, more.

I consider that most people understand that in order to get these scholarships and great courses to the best universities you need to be able to show this about yourself. Having obtained scholarships to 3 boarding schools, I understand that the right sap story can get you further then any amount of study will. But here’s the real question, why do we actually do all of these extra curricular activities and events? Do we do it because we want to, because we’re interested, because we want to grow as a person? Or, do we do it because we’re expected to? I really don’t think I’ll have a problem with these type of questions. I can talk about leadership, sports, creative activities and community service. I tick all the boxes, which I’m sure the universities will just love… but looking back at the years I’ve put in, the hours I’ve stoically ran back and forth, back and forth on the badminton court; shouted at people who should have been friends in debating; saved up thousands of dollars so that I could go on a charity mission with total strangers – I have to consider, was it worth it? All of this time was time spent ultimately so that I could get into ‘the dream school’. But none of this time was time spent enjoying life.

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In doing what was expected of me, I gave up a childhood, my family, a normal life. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have this idea that normal people my age fantasise about traveling, boys, friends. They spend their time arguing with their parents over stupid things, partying on weekends and hanging out with genuine friends. What do I do, what do I have? Relationships of mutual convenience. Arguments over whether I should apply to Duke or UCLA.

I feel robbed, and the reason I feel robbed is not because I study – I want that – it’s because all of the time I’m not studying is taken up with these stupid activities which I have no interest in doing! It’s not that I don’t like sport, or art, or service – I’m human! I have ambitions, I want to work with Doctor’s without borders and travel the world, but it seems that in order to do that in this society, we are being forced to give up that which less dedicated people are privileged enough to retain – a life. I dream of normality. I don’t want to answer these questions on hobbies, on overcoming difficulties, on extra-curriculars and the difference I have made, because the truth is, in doing this I can [email protected]^#t my way to the top – but I don’t believe that I or any other should be judged on what we’ve done now, when what we intend to do is so much more important. As I’ve been lucky enough to experience opportunity I’m at an advantage – why should this separate me from others? As I’ve endured the boring activities which are now expected you undertake, I believe I’ll be fine, but in my opinion it’s wrong to base my acceptance on what I’ve written and done, because it’s meant less to me as a person then the acceptance in itself will.