Many students, even incredibly successful ones, consider the topic of learning to be synonymous with school. It makes sense, after all, as learning a variety of subjects seems to be the primary objective of going to school, which most high schools students have done for nearly their entire lives. However, for those who are very passionate or focused on certain academic and vocational topics, learning through school is often not enough. Some fields, like business, have limited AP coursework to allow dedicated students to learn about the field. In addition, no specific “AP Engineering” class exists, even though these students may benefit from classes like AP Physics, or AP Calculus. Because of this, students may benefit from exploring their vocational interests and passions outside of the school environment.
However, both due to the pandemic, as well as due to a potential lack of available resources to high schoolers, students may be unsure how exactly to explore these passions. This is especially prevalent since many schools are shut down, making clubs much more difficult to participate in. The answer to how to explore one’s passions lies in after-school activities or extracurriculars. One question that arises regarding these extracurriculars is where to find them. If your school is still holding club meetings in a safe manner, joining and participating in clubs related to your passion is a great way to explore what you hope to pursue in the future. Not only are these clubs often filled with other people to socialize with and to talk to about your passion, but they are also typically accessible and very easy to join. After being a consistent member and participating in the club’s events and socials, you may want to seek a leadership role in the club, if available. Through this leadership role, you can make valuable changes to the club which will ultimately benefit members for many years after you leave high school.
While school clubs offer an easy way to explore your passions outside of the school curriculum itself, some fields of interest may not be represented by an available school club. If this is the case at your school, a solution would be to start a related club! Not only would this demonstrate your entrepreneurial drive and leadership, but it would also allow you to have a large portion of power to determine how the club is run, and what activities club members can participate in. Through doing this, you can make a lasting impact at your high school. If school clubs are currently closed, you can still find extracurricular opportunities in the field which interests you. Summer programs, although mostly virtual, offer explorative opportunities for your personal passions. Other programs during the school year offer the same level of involvement and exploration. SuccessBaseMass has numerous opportunities and programs in a variety of fields, ranging from STEM to the humanities available on this very website. Although these programs may be time-consuming, they are invaluable for allowing one to explore their interests and passions, while developing crucial skills and knowledge in these very interests.
Another option for finding valuable after-school activities is to search for relevant work experience. These activities include interning at a company, involvement with a non-profit organization, or even working an old-fashioned summer job. Although these positions may be difficult to obtain, especially for high schoolers, they contribute a variety of benefits for students, including valuable professional experience. One potential way to accrue such a position is to cold-email or call employers or organizations. Many non-profit organizations are always in need of aid!
In conclusion, after school activities provide students with the ability to explore their passions outside of the traditional school environment, while also allowing them to accrue leadership and professional experience. However, it's important to allow yourself time to relax and simply enjoy your teenage years as well, rather than flooding your day with a variety of activities. Rather than doing a large amount of activities to bolster your resume, it would be more fruitful to explore a few opportunities you are truly passionate about. This method of choosing extracurriculars would not only actually help your resume more than having many activities you have limited involvement in, but it would also be considerably more enjoyable and enriching.