It often feels like there’s a big jump from middle school to high school. You have to contend with new teachers, new responsibilities and unfamiliar seniors barreling down the hallway. Indeed, the adjustment period can take longer than you anticipate. One of the best ways you can assimilate is by getting involved in activities and events. After all, clubs and after school groups provide a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. They’ll also round out your high school experience and make you a more attractive applicant to colleges.
Of course, we realize it can be a tad intimidating when you first set out to join a new group. Therefore, we cobbled together some points to ponder as you begin your journey to becoming an extracurricular superstar:
Consider your interests/passions. Sure, we say this a lot. But that’s only because a little self-reflection is the best way to begin most endeavors. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of extracurricular options, simply think about what you love doing or what you've always been curious about. Do you believe yourself to be a budding social justice crusader? Then Amnesty International might be a great group for you. Are you destined to be a star of the stage? Well, march directly to the drama club (once classes are over of course).
Challenge yourself to attend a variety of club meetings. At the start of the school year, make a pledge that you’ll drop in on a few clubs each week (at least for the first month or so). This is a great way to meet new people and explore new hobbies. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that you might not enjoy or feel comfortable at the first meeting you attend. However, you shouldn't let that discourage you. Don’t stop until you find a few that strike your fancy!
Draft a buddy. If you’re too nervous to show up solo, ask some friends if they’d be interested in attending with you. It’s always easier to enter a room full of strangers if you have one or two familiar faces for support. And, as an added bonus, it will give your little circle an excuse to hang out!
Remember, you’re not restricted to only one activity. Yes, that’s right. You can participate in more than one club (we know – your mind is probably blown). Indeed, there’s no need to force yourself to choose between writing for the newspaper and playing soccer. In fact, it’s good to cultivate multiple interests. Just be mindful that you don’t want to spread yourself too thin and over-commit.
Make regular appearances. You can’t refer to yourself as an active member of a club or team if you only attend the first meeting or show up periodically. Extracurricular activities require a modicum of time and dedication. You won’t get anything out of the experience if you barely participate. And you likely won’t feel as though you fully belong. The more active you are, the more you‘ll enjoy yourself!
Don’t be fearful of failing! Instead, push yourself to try-out for the football team or audition for the jazz band. Often times, you’ll be able to find a place on the field or the stage (even if you’re not immediately first string material). Remember - you can always work your way up to varsity and/or first chair!
Start your own club. Sure, it sounds like a bold move! And we know you’re likely still getting your bearings. However, if you don’t find something that interests you or there’s an activity/subject you really want to explore, show a little initiative (an attribute that colleges love!) and create a new group. You can get started by asking a teacher or school administrator about the proper protocol. Chances are, they’ll be happy to help you pursue a passion. And your peers will be grateful that you’re filling an extracurricular gap!
Extracurricular activities are a fantastic way to enrich your high school experience. They provide a myriad of opportunities to make new friends and cement existing relationships. Moreover, they’ll allow you to develop new passions and hone your skills. What are you waiting for? Join today!