High school, we find out soon enough, occurs as much outside the classroom as it does inside. Extracurriculars account for a significant portion of this; they are, after all, the oasis in the wasteland of monotony and angst. From day one, the musical kid might be summoned to the school’s music programs, where they can partake in all sorts of bands, theatrical productions, and orchestras. Contrarily, the artistic kid might make a beeline for the art room, committing to communicating visions through painting and sculpture. For the athletically inclined, sports are in abundance, ranging from basketball and soccer to softball and volleyball. Those motivated to learn outside their normal curriculum have science olympiad, quiz bowl, and book club at their disposal. The list could go on and on into greater extent and obscurity. To cut off and conclude somewhere: there are a lot of extracurriculars for different people.
Like the majority, most of the activities I participate in are objective or achievement orientated clubs. A few of them, however, aren’t. They’re personal hobbies that aren’t really definitive or structured. One of them especially is a bit unusual. I collect vintage and ephemera photographs from the late 1800s to the mid 1950s. It started when I was around eleven to twelve years old and proliferated after reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Something about the forgotten, insignificant moments of the lives of everyday now-deceased people has always fascinated me; the gripping mystery in not knowing the story or person behind the photo. In what little spare time I have, I visit antique stores and flea markets sifting through boxes, researching photographs and the history of them.
Which, ultimately leads to the crux of this: extracurriculars don’t always have to entail to organization commissioned events. This especially goes for those with pursuits that their school can’t provide, or those who prefer not engaging in group settings. Activities done outside of structured organizations hold as much validity and significance as those within. Sometimes it’s refreshing to have something to enjoy on your own, without the ever-present gaze of competition and redundant meetings. Stamp collections, video game designing, or teaching a sibling how to play an instrument all count as extracurriculars.
Amidst the struggle and anxiety, it’s beneficial to keep in mind that to do the things you do because, to some degree, you genuinely like it. Sometimes it feels like the high school experience is garnered more towards marketing yourself as a commodity than letting yourself develop as you naturally would. There’s the illusion that we must indiscriminately fulfill the well-rounded Renaissance man ideal. The general notion is that it seems to be the only way into certain colleges. that to colleges then allowing yourself to develop as you would. It’s tempting to join that club to pad your college application up, take that AP course in a subject you hate to show rigor. Admittedly this might not be for the entirety of all that we do in preparation for the something that is ethically ambiguous but done so anyway. Not everything we do is geniune; we’re oppurtunistic . Yet, . Even if you’re; it might just end up as a spot on your Common App, maybe even the topic of your essay. High school – and I speak purely from hypothetical – comprises of four paradoxically insignificant-significant years. Beyond , and so long as you are left with yourself.