5 Tips for Hitting Refresh on Extracurriculars

This fall, you’ll be heading into your school building to spend your classes, lunch, and extracurricular time with your classmates and friends. Although many of us will be masked and social distancing, it is an exciting time to get moving in all the ways that make high school a fun social experience. So, good luck and enjoy!

As you readjust to in-person socializing, here are a few reminders on how to get past Netflix, out of the house, and beyond the classroom.

  1. Attend the annual club night or check your school website for club listings.

Recharge by trying something new. Open yourself to getting involved (again). Take advantage of what your school has to offer and embrace opportunities that will help you develop your particular strengths and talents. Join the chess club to learn the game or refine your strategy, sign up for ping pong for fun, or try the juggling club to learn an offbeat skill and boost school spirit. There are clubs for languages, cooking, culture, arts, technology, and many more interests that are ready to welcome you.

2. Join a club to make friends or join your friends in their club.

If you choose a club — say, the Chinese Language Club or the Photography Club — based on your interests, you are bound to make new friends who share that particular interest. Being with people who feel the same passion for an activity or a subject that you do is just plain fun. Enthusiastic energy is fantastic fuel for getting involved and learning more about your chosen activity.

If you choose a club that a friend told you about, you could open yourself to new ideas and new interests. If your friends already belong and are looking for one more participant, consider this an opportunity to spend time with people you like while learning something new. For example, getting your friend group involved in a community service venture gives you time together while helping others.

3. When choosing your extracurriculars, think about quality over quantity.

The importance of activities does not lie in sheer numbers. It isn’t a competition to see who has the most hobbies, interests, or activities. Clubs, sports, work, service, hobbies, camp — these are ways to engage with others. What you choose reflects your strengths, what you enjoy — in other words, that which is important to you. Select extracurriculars that are meaningful to you and give it your all. Choose wisely and become a standout in your preferred activities.

4. Find deeper involvement in the activities you enjoy.

This can often come in the form of leadership. Don’t be afraid to step forward and create change and growth. Working hard and dedicating yourself to an activity is very rewarding. You can help to shape the future of an activity and leave a legacy, thereby making an impact even after you graduate.

5. If you see a need for a new club, initiate the necessary research to move forward.

If you want to start a club, you should do your homework and check to see that your idea is a unique one and hasn’t already been launched at your school. Maybe your school doesn’t offer debate or robotics or a cappella. Be sure to check with your activities coordinator or your school website to make sure that your school doesn’t already have something that encompasses your special interest. Sometimes, clubs go dormant, and maybe this is a chance to revive one. If it is a go, make sure that you have the time and dedication to developing a dynamic group of participants who share your passion.

There is one sure thing about becoming involved in activities. You’ll need others. You’ll need other students who are interested enough not only to show up to that first meeting (with or without the promise of pizza) but to stay long after, perhaps even to help by taking on important leadership roles. You’ll need a faculty sponsor who has the time and interest to do more than just sign off on the proposal.

That faculty sponsor is a key member of your activity, and additionally, parents can always help with advice, logistics, expertise, or extra hands. Reach out for support from your community of people and build a strong club/team/service organization. If there are similar clubs at neighboring schools, you could connect with those students and strengthen your organization. If you’re interested in starting a chapter of a larger organization (e.g., Model United Nations, Future Business Leaders of America, Best Buddies), you would need to contact its headquarters to find a staff person who can coach you through the necessary steps.

The best contribution you can give to your school is one that will last well after you’re gone.