Throughout my high school career, I have heard one piece of advice from multiple places: participate in extracurriculars that relate to your desired career or major. However, I have found quite a few problems with this advice. These problems’ prevalence varies by school and what you want to do with your life, but whether they actually apply or not shouldn’t really matter.
Let’s face it. Not every career path and majors have set in stone extracurriculars that go with it. Personally, for example, I have never come across a school with an archaeology club. That’s not to say one doesn’t exist, it’s just that most students won’t be able participate in one—regardless of whether they want to be an archaeologist.
Other majors, however, do have a lot of readily available extracurriculars, such as music programs. In fact, most non-athletic extracurriculars at my school are music related. During my high school career, I have taken advantage of these more than anything related to my planned major. I probably would be involved in politics related clubs if they were available—but there isn’t even a politics class at my school, let alone any extracurriculars. I do not feel that a student’s future college or career should punish her because of what her high school offers.
Variety and Exploration
Let’s face it, high school is the perfect opportunity to try new extracurriculars, whether they are sports or academic based ones, or any other kind. It’s not a bad thing to have a variety of extracurriculars on your resume. It shows that you have varying interests—not just ones limited to your career. Especially with liberal arts schools, this is a positive thing. A lot of the time, colleges require you to take classes unrelated to your major, so showing that you already have a variety of interests may look favorable. Plus, with a variety of extracurriculars, you may discover that your original interest isn’t actually what you wanted to do. If you stuck solely to ones related to your desired career, you would never know that.
I feel that there’s a bit of a negative stigma against doing things just for the enjoyment of it. I also feel that this is completely unnecessary. Like I mentioned earlier, most of the extracurriculars I am involved in are music related. The reason I have kept with these activities is because I actually thoroughly enjoy them. Sometimes, you have to put aside what you want to do for the rest of your life for what you enjoy doing now. I’ve known for a long time that I didn’t want to make a career out of music, but I’ve also known that it’s something I enjoy and didn’t want to give up. I like to think that things done for your enjoyment and for your career do not necessarily have to completely overlap all the time.
High School Isn’t College
With how much pressure is put onto students to pick a major and career path long before they go to college, it’s easy to forget that high school isn’t just an extension of college. High school shouldn’t be all about what’s next. Some of it should be about what’s happening right now. And that includes extracurriculars. You still have years to be involved in things related to your major in college. Being involved with those related activities is fine, but being involved with unrelated activities are fine, too.
Extracurriculars are an incredibly important part of anyone’s high school career. They can also be one of the most enjoyable parts. They truly should be picked based on what you enjoy and want to pick, not what someone else thinks is best for your future career—which may not even end up being what you want to do years down the road.