Seth Godin wrote on his blog last week:
You can either seek to get more out of an opportunity (job, technology, interaction, person, moment), or less. More exposure, more risk, more upside, more work, more learning, more engagement, more passion, more chance to be blamed, more opportunity to make a difference, more effort…or less."
What does that look like for a high school student?
You can sit in your trigonometry class and take notes that just copy what your teacher writes on the board. Or you could get more out of it. Don’t just copy the problems—write the steps on separate lines. Include your own commentary. When you don’t understand something, raise your hand and ask a question. Or go see your teacher immediately after class. Treat this class time like study time. Get more out of your time there.
You can attend meetings of the Red Cross Club, sit quietly, listen, and maybe think about running for an office one day. Or you could go to each meeting looking for opportunities to actually do things. You could offer to pitch in and help the officers. You could ask questions, contribute your own ideas, and recognize those people who are doing a great job. If you’re going to go to the meeting, why not get more out of it?
When you meet with your counselor, when you audition for the school play, when you visit a college or take a cooking class or even just plan an evening with your friends, how could you get more out of it? The best part of this is that the answer is entirely up to you. Nobody’s stopping you from getting more out of what you do.