By Elizabeth Kolling
Sixty seconds in a minute, 60 min in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 18 weeks in the Fall Semester, a meager 3024 hours to divide between academics, athletics, theatre, debate, speech and the multitude of other student activities offered at Sonoma Academy.
So many interests and things to do and so little time!
To some high school students, time is something greater than mere seconds on a clock or the annual passing of a season; time and the way it is utilized, serves as a defining instrument. How one chooses to occupy and use one’s time will likely influence one’s future. How people spend their time will groom specific capabilities, while conversely, the lack of time and practice spent in competing areas of interest may lead to the demise of those once sharp skills.
For some students the threat of losing touch with a particular passion or being left on the sidelines while a production is birthed is a real struggle. In order to successfully delve deeper into the subject and create a more finished product, high school extracurriculars force students to choose where they will commit, dedicate, and ultimately spend their precious time; this is no more evident than in the Fall.
Each season, several students/athletes/thespians need to weigh and weather the decision of either being left on the sidelines while a production is being birthed, or finding themselves backstage, missing spirited play on the field, court or course.
What comes into play in making this very difficult and important decision for both faculty and students?
“It was an extremely difficult decision for me to choose between theater and cross country,” said sophomore Joey Johnson. “I tried both freshman year, and I miserably failed. I eventually had to quit cross country, which was very disappointing.”
If time were something truly infinite, people could maintain all of the hobbies that they were forced to let go of during the transitions from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. With the obstacle of time, however, individuals are pressured to make the “right” decision while resolving dilemmas pertaining to their interests.
Although this can, to some, be an agonizing predicament, others find it to be a natural and helpful process that assists them in the discovery of themselves.
“To me, these choices are important,” said sophomore Audrey von Raesfeld. “They are grueling and painful, but they force us to get our priorities in order by getting to know ourselves better. They also help me, at least, to understand big ideas like commitment, and being responsible for the things that I want to do in my life.”
“In the early years, we tried hard to make it work but it didn’t work for the production, teams or students who were trying to manage both at the same time,” Athletic Director Chris Ziemer said. “Now we encourage students to look at the year and decide how they want the year to look, knowing there are some choices they have to make with what they can take on. We have a lot of great options but students have to make choices. That’s good preparation for life beyond school.”
Sometimes, having to choose between passions eliminates the ones that are impetuously misconstrued as those of importance. This forces some to find themselves in deeper context and allows teachers to acquire groups of individuals that truly share an extensive passion for the subjects.
“I choose the ones I like best and really try to focus on them,” said sophomore Evan Lampson.
“I really want to have a cast full of people who really want to be there, so I think when I know students make a sacrifice to be there, they truly want to be there,” says Director of Theater Jen Cote. “I find it impressive that there are so many students who are athletes and also love and are good at theater, because it shows the quality of the kids here.”
Although the selection of certain passions over others can result in a loss of connection with interests that at one point, may have been loved dearly, this process is perhaps one of the most important throughout adolescence. Students may, at times, feel pressured to weave their interests into a safe, confined, and straight rope that leads them to their future, but this does not constitute a reason for isolation within passions or suggest a dissuasion from exploration.
“What I do say to students is, ‘You should try to try everything once so you get the full experience,’” said Cote. “Try everything, that’s my greatest piece of advice; get the whole of the high school experience.”