Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

We all have that friend. The friend who tells you that they’re starting a new club. And you’re briefly interested so you ask them, “Why?” And all your interest dies when you hear the words just merely formed on their lips. “For college.”

I’ve gone to a high school where this is common and widely accepted: might I even say, encouraged to a certain extent. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, isn’t it? And we have to do whatever we can as students to survive and to add onto our college applications whatever we can so we stand out. So we make ourselves the presidents and the founders of club after club and organization after organization until we truly don’t know what we’re doing for ourselves and for college.

But to me, high school seems too valuable to waste your energy and hours of sleep on something you’re only passionate for on paper. Join a club, start a non-profit, kickstart a movement not because you want to type it into the Common Application in September of your senior year, but because you truly care and it matters to you so much that you can’t go without being an integral part in changing it. Do what you’re passionate about and let it consume every part of you. Because in reality, these clubs and organizations you’re a part of just for college? It shows up in your resume, believe me. These colleges want students who are absolutely in love with what they do because they’ll know that this kind of passion will not die out even when you go to college and graduate and enter the “real world.” So do these things for yourself.

When I was a freshman in high school, I watched the seniors at the time start different clubs on our campus to pad their resumes and I really wondered if that’s what I should be planning for my high school experience to be. To this day I can’t fully say how grateful I am that I fell in love with what I did instead of sitting there pretending that I found my passion in it because my high school career has been so much more important to me because of it. When I sat at my computer trying to write my next college supplement, I wasn’t telling them that I was a part of these clubs because I thought it would make me look like a better leader. I was telling them and was reminding myself that I joined these organizations and these causes because I wanted to.

Do what you love in high school. It seems like only four years of your life (and I mean it is), but it’s worth so much more than that. I’m sure we’d all rather get up every day thinking about what we can do next because we love it rather than what we can do next because we want to click “Add another” on our Common Application.

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the author

Frances Lee is a senior at Gretchen Whitney High School who finds a special importance in students having a voice and the inherent power in volunteering. She is currently the proud president of Pen on Paper and Key Club and has fallen in love with TEDxWhitneyHigh, a conference she has organized for the past 3 years to share "ideas worth spreading" with her community. Throughout her high school career, Frances has undergone a variety of experiences from traveling to Ecuador to writing a blog to barely overcoming her phobia of public speaking. She aspires to inspire others and to be inspired by her peers every day.

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