One underrated aspect of modern life: if there’s any niche you’re interested in, you can find an avenue for discussion. Sure, even in the 1950s, you could certainly assemble a model car or start a collection of pet rocks, destined to dust-collection–but beyond that, you were generally out of luck. However, in today’s world, any interest–no matter how obscure or specific–can be reblogged, retweeted, and shared with scores of like-minded fans. For better or for worse, this narrowly-tailored approach to life has made it to high school, with what I refer to as “fluff clubs”: clubs that don’t intend (or attempt) to end human suffering and win championships, clubs that are dedicated to watching TV or baking beignets. Well, let’s start off with the bad news.
First off: fluff clubs can look a little silly. Now, don’t take me too literally–you should never, ever be self-conscious about pursuing your extracurricular passions. But, that’s the caveat: nothing should keep you from following your passions, not your OK hobby that’s kinda neat sometimes I guess, but WOW does it look good on a college transcript. At the end of the day, if you’re getting involved in a club, it should be rewarding in and of itself– ot just as a ‘carrot on a stick’ panacea in order to become a ‘well-rounded applicant’ because, believe me, your kazoo club probably won’t floor the Harvard admissions committee. (Word of advice: Checkers Club is probably not the aforementioned silver bullet, either.)
To quote staff writer Jorie Schwab’s article, “Colleges look for dedication and passion in extracurriculars. While you can fake participation or fake initial desire to become involved, faking passion is almost impossible.” And besides, your time is valuable! When you break it down, it might not seem like a colossal waste of time to sleep through another Table Tennis Club meeting–and, in fairness, you don’t have to be 110% involved in everything you touch (like some tortured Type-A Midas). But to paraphrase Smash Mouth, there’s “so much to do” and “so much to see,” so why spend your days as a supercilious bystander, aloof and disinterested? And if you find yourself taking the path of least resistance and sitting on cruise control in your own club: that’s a problem.
If you’ve grown weary of stockpiling batter and griddles for your Waffle Appreciation Club™, you might have to face the fact that you’re merely ‘scraping by’ for some extrinsic motivator–that is, running a club not for the sheer joy of (rhetorical) waffle-making, but to pad a resume. After all, as The Prospect Staff has previously stated, you shouldn’t get involved in a club because “it looks good” on a transcript, but “because it’s meaningful”– otherwise, you risk drowning in the quotidian mundanities of club management–an effluvium of extracurricular ennui.
OK, so I’ll be the first to admit that the lion’s share of this article has been negative–but please, please don’t let a stodgy Op-Ed stop you from doing what you actually want to do. As much as I’ve critiqued fluff clubs in this article, I will concede that even the most banal of topics can foster sincere conversations and meaningful relationships. Even so-called “silly clubs” can serve as a jumping-off point for wonderful bonds and friendships! Furthermore, fluff clubs can expose anyone to new hobbies and new ideas (no matter how trivial they may seem). And, finally, fluff clubs can provide a support network for self-betterment. If macaroni art is truly your passion, then what better way to develop your pasta-painting skills than to work with your friends?
In conclusion, I’d advise against squandering your time on something you have minimal interest in (in order to gain a milquetoast, vacuous footnote on your college application). What I would recommend? Do what you care about, get your friends involved, and let everything else take its course. Clubs should be an organic outcropping of your niche passions, not a chore!
After all, as the colloquialism goes: do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.