The story of an over involved student

Why I do what I do


Gaby Pereda

EXTRACURRICULARS. As a junior in high school, Gaby Pereda is involved in many extracurriculars. Despite having a busy schedule, Pereda explains her motives for her actions.

Just like a rubber band snaps when it has too much tension, we humans also reach a “snapping” point when the pressure around us just seems like too much.

I’m sure if you ask my classmates, friends, family, or teachers, they would all tell you that I am involved in many things, and some of them might even tell you too many things. However, you’ll rarely hear me admit this. 

 I know I do take on a lot of responsibilities—whether it be a schedule full of rigorous classes, involvement in clubs like Unified for Uganda and Fashion for the Cure, multiple voice lessons a week, or rehearsals for the youth opera program I am in. My weekdays are filled. My weekends are filled. It seems like all my time is filled. 

More than ever this year, I’ve had more and more people reach out to me and try to address what seems to many, a problem of overinvolvement. They remind me that I do not need to find my worth in the amount of things I do. 

But the truth is, I don’t.

I don’t do these things because I find my self-worth through the things I accomplish. I also do not do these things because I am trying to spice up my college applications. I am not criticizing those motives, but they simply just do not fit mine. 

 For what it’s worth, I have found myself participating in all these activities, clubs, and classes for three main reasons. 

First of all, I believe that if I am capable of doing something, then I should absolutely fulfill it. It doesn’t come from a place of needing to find my worth through what I do, it comes from a place of wanting to fulfill my inner potential, which I know is grand, like any other person on this planet.

However, it doesn’t only come from a place of human potential and capability. It also comes from a sense of being knowingly aware of my opportunities. 

I’ve gotten the amazing gift to travel a lot and see a grand part of the world. One of the most important attributes of traveling that I have gained is that it has allowed me to see the vast opportunities that I have in this school and the community around me compared to kids in other parts of the world. 

Sycamore high school offers around 30  AP courses, 70 clubs, and over 30 sports teams. For us, this seems normal, and that’s completely understandable because for us,  Sycamore is all we’ve ever known. But, we need to step back and realize, it is far from normal. It’s so rare that we are gifted with all of these opportunities. We need to be grateful for the chances we are given to excel in life. 

That’s why ultimately I always take advantage of the opportunities I am given. I know there are people in this world that do not even have the chance to be offered programs as such.I also know that there are many people who wished they could have what we all have at a school like Sycamore. 

But my drive doesn’t only come from a sense of potential and opportunity. 

The last reason, and probably the biggest, is that I do what I do out of love.  I think this is the most important motive; you cannot go throughout your life doing things you are not passionate about and do not love. Your life will not be fulfilled and you will start to lose sight of your end goal. 

Although it does not always seem like it, I honestly do love school. Yes you’ll find me complaining about my workload or a grade I wish I didn’t get, but the truth is, I love learning new things and I love becoming more aware of the world around me. It isn’t always easy and balancing my schedule has definitely been tough. But, in the end, the grades, the homework, the stress, they really do not outweigh my love for education and my desire to learn more.

The same goes for my clubs, Unified for Uganda and Fashion for the Cure. U4U is near and dear to my heart because I know that I am providing children with a better education, the only thing that will take them out of the poverty cycle which many of them are glued to. In a similar manner, Fashion for the Cure holds a grand place in my heart. Yes, it gets stressful having to solicit, find donations, setting up for the show, but there’s absolutely nothing I would want to do more. Getting to spend my time improving the lives of impoverished children whether it be in terms of wealth or in terms of health, is what drives my involvement in these areas. 

Being active in academics and clubs isn’t all I’m part of; however, my motives behind my commitments are all the same.

You may be wondering what the allusion to the metaphor had to do with this story. Well, I think that some people I know are afraid I’m reaching this point of snapping. That’s why I am cautioned away from overinvolvement and unhealthy motives. But the truth is doing things out of a place of wanting to fulfill my potential, take advantage of my opportunities, and out of a place of pure love is what protects me from this snapping point. 

Take a moment to step back and ask yourself, what are your motives? Why do you do what you do? Reflect. Make sure they’re coming out of a positive place. If they’re not, ask yourself why, and do what you can to change your mindset before your own metaphorical rubber band of life snaps.