School is all about stress, whether we’d like to admit it or not. It’s all about slaving over the latest math problem, sweating bullets just trying to balance the next chemical reaction, and getting headaches over explaining how Tolkien’s Middle Earth is not an allegory for the real world — in a hundred words or fewer. The work is stressful, but if you don’t let the stress get to you, then school can actually be something to look forward to.
Make that dismissal time: there are hundreds of after-school activities that can fill up those hours in between dismissal and dinner, and they can be fun and educational at the same time! Forget about video games, TV, movies, and loitering in the mall. Pick an after-school activity that you can enjoy without going through the hassle of spending too much money, or ruining your eyes.
What after-school activities might you be interested in? Here are a few examples.
— If you are a sports fanatic, there are many after-school activities related to sports that will tickle your fancy and keep you on your toes.
You might want to try out for your school’s baseball or basketball team. You might also want to simply practice your skating moves at the local ice rink. Or you could try new sports and flex your muscles like never before: try salsa dancing, or tai chi, or aerobics!
The key to enjoying after-school activities is to pick something unique — and what else could be more unique than an exercise that could either allow you to be graceful (like ballet) or uncommonly strong (like martial arts)?
— If you are into writing, then join after-school workshops in poetry and prose. You can also hone your journalistic skills by joining the school newspaper. Whether you are a fiction or non-fiction writer, such activities will allow you to master your craft when you’re at your least stressed. Besides, writing can release a lot of pent-up energy within, so if you think that math test was grueling and that chemistry exam was heartbreaking, you can take it all out on a poem and feel your heartstrings relax!
— If writing isn’t your thing, then perhaps you could talk and argue and hone your speaking skills. Join a speech workshop, or join the school’s debate team. Like writing, debate can ease stress by allowing you to use your mind to beat an opponent’s logic, all while using the best words and mixing the best sentences to convince your audience that your side of the argument is the right one.
The most skillful debaters sometimes end up as the best lawyers and politicians, so if you’re looking for a future in Congress, a school might be a good place to start.
— If you’re into acting and want to get a part on Broadway or in Hollywood, then join your school’s drama club. This will allow you to practice not only your acting skills, but your production, directing, and costume-crafting talents as well. If you can take the long nights of rehearsals, then drama might make your day.
— Are you skilled in playing a musical instrument? Then join the school orchestra! This can allow you to not only hone your musical skills but travel. This is especially true if your musical instrument is your voice: school choirs do a lot of concerts and traveling, and this might be something you will enjoy.
— If you want to earn money after school, then there are many safe, student-friendly part-time jobs available. If you can stand cleaning floors, serving at cashiers, and even babysitting or dog-sitting, then be prepared to rake in a few extra dollars.
Whichever after-school activity you choose, make sure it will benefit you physically, intellectually, and emotionally. And make sure that you have fun: an after-school activity should be something you look forward to every day.