Get Involved…You Only Live Once

There was a fad a year or two ago where people were encouraged to write a letter to “16-Year-Old Me”. I am not sure what the purpose of this was but the positive spin from it was that young people had the chance to see what older people (eg: over 20!) would have changed about their teenage years.

For me, I would have gone back further and written a letter to the 14-year-old me. At 14 and in Grade 8, sports was everything. My life revolved around the community sports seasons (hockey, fastball, soccer) but once I hit high school, I moved from volleyball to basketball to badminton to track without a day off between. I was so focussed on athletics that I did not give myself the chance to get involved in anything else. I would have told the 14-year-old me to take courses in music and drama, to play in the school ensembles and audition for a role on stage. Now that I am over 20(!!), I wish I had taken advantage of those opportunities.

So whenever I have the chance to speak with students about their future years in education, I always tell them to add one new extra-curricular activity each year (even if it means they need to drop one). Every year, I see students who play on a sports team or perform on stage for the first time and think to myself “Why didn’t they do this sooner?”. Even more frustrating is seeing students who are very active in the TEAM/Mentor clubs, teams, ensembles and activities from JK to Grade 8 but then don’t get involved in anything in high school! What happened to YOLO (You Only Live Once)?

In a few weeks, it will be New Year’s Eve and many of us will be making resolutions for 2015. Students…make this the year that you tryout for a new sports team, audition for a role in the musical, join the cooking club or sign up to participate in an Outreach project. Parents…if your child needs a bit of encouragement to get involved, let us know and we can perhaps subtly give them a nudge. You could even write that letter to the “14-Year-Old Me” (or choose the age your child is) to start the conversation. The only question is…would you have listened to an “ancient” person like you when you were 14?

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College/TEAM School

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