Thursday, August 28, 2003

Finally, some issues:

By: Michael Akerman

Well, it's Thursday. And I have nothing to do at the moment, so I'm going to blog a bit.

To start, issue number 1:


(Link is to the right) Angela, in an effort to refute my blog (at least everything about her) has set up her own. Oddly, she has chosen to refute my arguments before I make them. Oh well, whatever...

In good faith, I've added a link to her site on my site. After all, everyone deserves a fair chance to present counter-arguments... even blathering, overreacting people ;).

Issue number 2:

Extracurricular Requirements for Colleges:

One thing in the college admission process confuses me: extracurricular activites.

Most people at school spend Calorie upon Calorie of energy stuffing their applications full of club memberships, club presidencies, sports, service, and other work. Upon asking why colleges care so much, I was told they want to know that you can "manage your time."

The first issue that comes to mind is the very, very small amount of invested time required in most club memberships. Now, club officers are a completely different thing (I'm Senior Patrol Leader for my troop. Leadership takes plenty of time), but many people get their extracurricular college admissions purely through low-input memberships. This is not actually the major issue, though.

The most troubling thing is the weight placed on extracurricular activities. Colleges do not seem to understand psychology very well for institutes of higher learning.

I am an introvert. I hate meeting new people, and I'd much rather be in a group of two or three friends then a large club of people I don't like. Thus, clubs are not enjoyable to me. Every once in a while, a club will cater to my interests enough for me to join, but the vast majority (especially of the more popular clubs) do not present any chance at enjoyment to me.

Society hates introverts. Sometime in the evolution of American society, it was decided that the best person was one who enjoyed yammering on with everyone in the known universe. Introverts, those who prefer a life of quiet contemplation, a few friends of like interests, and deep academic focus, were left by the wayside.

Where did this discrimination start? It has always been there. It stems from the common misconception that "introvert" means "shy." This is incorrect. Introverts are not incapable of social interaction, we simply do not enjoy it.

Many believe that simply because one is introverted, they will not work as well in situations where they must interact with others. Also incorrect. Studies show that introverts are, in fact, much more focused, and generally are more successful in working environments.

So, you see, requiring extracurricular activities is utterly unfair to introverts. The colleges gain little information of any use about someone based on their extracurricular record, but succeed in blocking many great students from attending the best schools. This reminds me of another time in American history, but we had affirmative action to fix that.

Pulling out of socio-psychological issues, I'd like to confront the logical issue. How would people respond if, to get into a professional sports team or interest club, you had to take years of exhaustive academic study? Most would be revolted by this contradiction of needs. Why should anyone be forced to do something completely unrelated to what they want to do? Of course they shouldn't, but colleges require the same. (Note: this brings up many questions about college sports, but I'll get to that later.)

I hope I've made clear the unneccessary nature of extracurricular activities. I guess I'll still troll for application padders until institutions come to their senses, because I care enough about academics to do something I don't enjoy at all to do what I love.

Expect to see more issue-driven posts in the very near future,

...Michael Smith should be joining sometime this weekend, for those who are keeping tabs. His invitation is sent and awaiting response...