Taking extracurriculars for interest instead of college benefit students

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Courtesy of Kristine Brown

The front ensemble practices the marching band show, “A Night at the Graveyard”, after-school, Nov. 4.

Jocelyn Cheung, Staff Writer

As high school students stress about college, many participate in various extracurriculars solely to pad their college resume. Although it is important for students to build their resumes through high school, students should only participate in extracurriculars because of their pure interest in the subject.

With over 21 Virginia High School League (VHSL) sports, more than 90 clubs, eight VHSL Academic Teams and 12 honor societies, CHS has a wide variety of extracurricular activities that students may partake in. Even with all these options, many students still participate in extracurriculars to make their college applications more appealing, rather than joining clubs because they actually want to. Joining an activity with lack of interest causes unnecessary stress and feels like a chore to be a part of.

“I’ve taken piano [and have been in] a bunch of honor societies, and they were all so bad,” junior Ashley Wu said. “If you don’t like it, you’re gonna drop it.”

Colleges can also tell if students join certain extracurriculars solely to support their college resume. For example, student’s electives may show a particular interest for one subject, but their extracurriculars may be completely different. Stacking miscellaneous activities that have no relation to one’s personality doesn’t allow colleges to truly understand what the student enjoys and how they will affect certain communities on campuses.

“Colleges want to see that students have a broad array of interests involved in things in the school,” director of student activities Corey Bowerman said. “ [I don’t think] starting a club because they feel that it’s going to help them in the college application process is going to help you get into a college.”

However, if students take extracurriculars that actually appeal to them, there are many benefits. Many leadership skills can be gained from taking activities with leadership roles. Certain clubs and activities can also be enjoyable and be used as an escape from school-related stress. 

“[Band] helped me distract myself from [something that happened over the summer],” Wu said. “But [band] also helped me get over [the problem] because it was something that I liked doing.”

The high school experience can be more enjoyable with extracurriculars, and students have a broadened exposure to parts of high school that they aren’t normally affiliated with.

“I think it’s a good outlet and relief to be able to be with friends [and] do something you enjoy in the building,” Bowerman said. “It allows you to meet new people, broaden your horizons and get exposed to things you may not otherwise be exposed to.”

Some students even begin their own clubs due to personal interest like junior Micaela Bravo and her creation of a K-pop club. 

“I decided to make [the club] because I wanted a place where I could talk about the things I like,” Bravo said. “It’s a community gathering, not an academic club, and it’s very fluid. I want it to be a place where people go because they want to go.”

At the end of the day, high school isn’t a long test for students to get into collegehigh school is a time for students to truly discover themselves and pursue their goals.

“Do something because it makes you happy,” Bravo said. “And if you don’t enjoy it, then it’s okay to stop doing it.”

With the wide range of extracurriculars at our school, finding where to start may be overwhelming. The All Students course in Schoology lists all the clubs and how to join them, and the athletic website includes all the sports available.

“Do something because it makes you happy. “And if you don’t enjoy it, then it’s okay to stop doing it.””

— Micaela Bravo