Editorials and Opinions

Con: Students should focus their effort on trying a variety of fields

By Meghna Nandi
Published: October 2009

Life is busy. Time is limited, and it’s up to us to decide where to fit it in. Especially in high school, kids are bombarded by an array of activities to participate in: clubs, sports, theatre productions, musical groups, and more.

There are, no doubt, many opportunities for us to take advantage of’€but how many of these opportunities are worth taking? Where should we budget our efforts?

Some might say that we should focus on one activity or talent. If we find something that we enjoy or simply have a knack for, we should put all of our efforts into that skill and become truly good at it. In a society that promotes productivity and success while frowning upon mediocrity, shouldn’t we make the best use of our time by focusing it on one activity in which we can shine? After all, quality is better than quantity.

But is it really? With so many different choices in front of us, are we really meant to only pursue one of them? We should put our efforts into various different activities. This is not to say that we should participate in as many activities as we possibly can, to the point that we sacrifice quality in everything we try to do.

We should rather assert the merits of having various developed skills and being pretty good at many different things.

By focusing on only one activity, we overlook what other activities can offer us. By focusing on many activities, we gain exposure to many disciplines and acquire a variety of skills.

For example, is it good to excel at playing an instrument if it means minimal physical activity? Music teaches us to express ourselves, to develop fine motor skills, and to pay attention to detail. But sports teach us about teamwork and help build strength and stamina. Both areas cultivate different and important abilities’€we should not sacrifice one just to master the other.

Let’s say we were talking talent in terms of academics. We wouldn’t say that it’s okay to have absolutely no math skills because our reading skills are phenomenal. We would want to be good at both because both skills help us achieve different goals.

Without a fairly solid background in math, would we be smart consumers or balance our finances? Likewise, without a decent foundation in reading comprehension would we be able to get very far in pursuing any subject? Different skills and activities give us a variety of rewards and should be equally valued.

Maybe part of the reason why high school offers such a wide range of groups and activities is so we can develop multiple skills. You could be a football star or a piano prodigy, but without exploring other interests and talents, you’d probably miss out on gaining many important skills.

There’s a reason why colleges like “well-rounded students. There’s a lot to gain from being pretty good at a variety of things.

As we grow up, we are told to get out there, to try things we’ve never done before. We can’t keep ourselves open to all the possibilities if we are caught up in one talent or activity. There’s a lot that life hands us; it’s up to us to make the most of it.

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