Menlo’s Environment Impacts Students’ Extracurricular Choices


Staff illustration: Tatum Herrin.

Andrea Li

Extracurricular activities are of the many things that high school students are encouraged to list on their college applications, so there tends to be an emphasis placed on the quality and quantity of them.

Freshman Carter Techel believes that Menlo’s environment is beneficial because it encourages students to participate in extracurriculars. “Everyone is more inclusive, positive and wants to make you [feel] better. This makes it easier [for students] to want to do extracurriculars and other clubs,” Techel said.
Meanwhile, senior Sammie Dostart-Meers believes that the environment at Menlo creates unwanted pressure. “I think it’s honestly the fault of the hyper-competitive energy of the students. Not to say that anyone is shaming other students for not doing enough, but there is so much internal anxiety and pressure put on oneself [at] a high-intensity school like Menlo,” Dostart-Meers said.

  According to Dostart-Meers, pressure from other students, whether intentional or not,  can lend to this stressful environment. “You always hear about the extra commitments your classmates have. It’s truly a cycle of paranoia where everyone is worried they aren’t doing enough or the right things,” Dostart-Meers said. Dostart-Meers is not the only one who shares the same concerns about Menlo’s environment, as freshman Miki Kimura also believes that an underlying competition between students contributes to why students feel they have to participate in more extracurriculars.

However, Dostart-Meers believes that the looming presence of college shouldn’t be the sole factor that determines a student’s extracurriculars. “Throughout my entire high school career, I have always been so tempted to look for extracurriculars that are college advantageous but also interesting to me. And I think that’s a realistic balance. There is going to be no way to remove the worry and bias from your head that certain things look good for college, so at least try to find things that are also fun,” Dostart-Meers said.