Chaotic Curriculars

Freshman Keani Van Brunt manages her plethora of extracurricular activities as a way of ensuring that her free time is well-spent.

Waking up early in the morning, ready to get into the ocean, Freshman Keani Van Brunt is excited and ready to use her time to her advantage, knowing how valuable it is. 

“If I woke up at nine I’d feel like I already wasted two hours of the day that I could have been awake,” Van Brunt said. 

Van Brunt intentionally fills her schedule, never wanting to spend her time idly. Van Brunt has surf practice early in the morning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. After school, at around 6 to 8, she does jiu-jitsu every day. Once she gets home from jiu-jitsu practice, she waits for her dad to get home and then practices the guitar with him. And in addition to her plethora of extracurricular activities, she skates whenever she has free time. 

“I’m one of those people that always have to be doing something,” Van Brunt said. “It makes me feel like I’m not wasting any time and that’s what it is for me: living life to your fullest potential and doing everything to the best of your ability.”

Although she loves being busy this also comes with the feeling of needing more time to finish schoolwork. Van Brunt tries to finish all her homework during class and if she can’t, she ends up trying to fit it in between getting home and going to jiu-jitsu, hula-dancing, or any other activities she is doing that day. Van Brunt’s mom, Stefanie Honda explained that Van Brunt is very organized and that she knows what activities she needs to prioritize over others. For example, Van Brunt would make the decision to prioritize her primary sports over the sports she does for fun.

“She has things she’s always done like hula, so sometimes she’ll prioritize hula over other activities, since she’s done it for so long,” Honda said. “She just knows her priorities well, like how surfing often takes first priority for her.”

However, despite Van Brunt’s diversified interests in a multitude of hobbies, she sometimes has to sacrifice some things for others and that action can be stressful for both her and her mom. 

“Whenever she shows an interest in something we try to be as supportive as we can,” Van Brunt said. “As long as she takes an interest in something, we’ll back her up.”

Van Brunt tends to surround herself with people who share the same interests as her because every one of her interests was influenced by the people she cares about most. Surfing was influenced by her mom and her passion for the activity was furthered by one of her friends. She got excited by the guitar from her dad, and enjoyed art as influenced by her aunt. 

“I took her surfing when she was around two or three,” Honda said. “And she fell and drowned a little bit. So after that, she kind of wanted nothing to do with surfing. I kind of realized that pushing her is not the right path. After that, I just took her surfing and she would sit on the sand and watch me surf or watch her dad surf and then she decided to give it another shot.”

Van Brunt’s extracurricular activities were also greatly influenced by her friends. She believes that some of them are more advanced than her, but she sees this as helpful because they can teach her more and push her to be her best. 

“I met my friend Dylan and then he kind of pushed me into being a better [surfer]  because he was really good,” Van Brunt said. “He introduced me to a new group of friends. We kind of became like a little posse, every one of us pushing each other into improving as surfers.” 

Van Brunt describes surfing as her favorite interest out of them all and the one she connects with the most. This is greatly influenced by the fact that her mom surfs and she is on the surf team. 

“The water is nice and cold, and it feels almost therapeutic,” Van Brunt said. “I think it’s especially fun since a lot of my friends surf.” 

Van Brunt feels that it is not that likely that she will go professional in any of her interests but she does think that she will continue them all as hobbies in the future. However, Van Brunt does currently have a surfing sponsorship with Stoked Chocolates and created drawings for their Valentine’s day collection. Van Brunt hopes to continue drawing for them until she stops competing in surfing. 

“I want to continue everything to the best of my abilities until I can’t do it anymore,” Van Brunt said. “All my [activities] are very meaningful to me.”