The jack of all trades

Sarah Sandlow, News Editor

I’ve always known that I spread myself too thin. The thought frequently crosses my mind as I leave a track meet immediately after my race to edit pages at a Torch press night, only to leave again for a band concert. I was a jack of all trades, running on limited hours of sleep with only a few hours allocated for homework in the evenings and on the weekends. It was a lot, and four years of seemingly endless activities can take a toll on anyone. 

We’re told as freshmen by overly enthusiastic seniors and teachers to “Get involved!” As we begin our junior year, our parents, college counselors and even ourselves scare us into building our resumes with activities we’re not even remotely interested in so we can “look good for colleges.” By senior year, we’ve been told to “get involved” more times than we can count. 

I got involved. I piled my schedule high with activities and neared my breaking point. And I genuinely enjoyed it all.

I joined cross country and track because I ran in middle school. I continued band because I played in middle school. I joined Torch because I thought I would have fun writing for a newspaper. 

My senior year on cross country, I dropped almost two minutes off my three-mile time and helped my team advance to sectionals. I learned how to be a leader and bonded with 65 wonderful teammates who I’m lucky to call my family. 

My senior year in Wind Ensemble, I practiced my clarinet every week over the summer to audition for Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra. During the school year, I spent two hours every Wednesday night playing with 170 band and orchestral musicians from both Glenbrook North and South and witnessed the beauty of making classical music. I used my evenings and weekends to practice a solo which I performed alongside the Wind Ensemble, a spectacle that could not have made me more proud.

My senior year on Torch, I worked for hours writing, editing and publishing articles as a news editor, spent an ungodly amount of time in the elusive publications room and met some of the kindest, most hardworking people there are. 

The severely limited character count I was allowed on my Common Application activities list vastly underrepresented the extent of my involvement.

Many know I can be pretty cynical when it comes to school. But after four long years, I say to all those underclassmen who are nervous about high school activities, “Get involved!” To the juniors concerned with doing the “right” activities for college, stay committed to what you love and it will show. And to my fellow seniors soon to be freshmen once again, let’s try something new in college. We just might like it.

We all know the saying, “A jack of all trades is master of none.” I never qualified for state in cross country or track, I wasn’t first chair in band, and I wasn’t the editor-in-chief of Torch. But we often disregard the second part of the phrase. A jack of all trades and a master of none is “oftentimes better than a master of one.” 

I spent high school as a jack of all trades, and I’ve enjoyed every stressful yet amazing minute.