Calm the club craze: Extracurriculars aren’t just for college apps

It’s eighth grade, and stepping into the high school is a buzz. This is where it all happens—the TV-show drama, the golden years, the social highlight of your life. You sit in the auditorium, excited to hear what you’re to expect about your high school experience after just touring.
“Get as involved as possible!”
“Join clubs!”
“It won’t be high school without the clubs!”
Teachers say it, upperclassmen (who are conveniently always the head of said club) say it, your parents say it.
“You need it for college!”
Suddenly joining those clubs isn’t super fun and exciting anymore—it’s another stressor. A necessity.
I’ve seen kids pack a million clubs into their schedules, squeezing them in between three-hour long practices, their language tutors, their after school SAT classes, and mastering five instruments.
I am by no means perfect, but as a graduating senior, my advice is this: calm down.
Yes, extracurriculars are important for college. But it’s quality over quantity.
What have I been involved in? The RoundUp for three years. Track and cross country for just a year (as a very mediocre runner). Writing competitions here and there. Summer camps. That’s it.
And guess what? I got into every school I’ve heard back from so far. (No, they aren’t ivies, but I’m speaking for those of us that don’t plan to cure cancer)
So, some of you might be scoffing at my involvement. Cool. But all those things I did because I genuinely wanted to—I didn’t find some club that meets once a month just to write “President” all over my common app. They saw me as a passionate student.
So, if you’re joining a thousand clubs you hate because you think it’ll boost your resume, save your time. Be consistent with one or two. Consistency is much more impressive than stretching yourself too thin.
When it comes to socializing, though, clubs are the jackpot. If you’re new or just looking to make friends, clubs can provide an opportunity to meet people you never would’ve known existed otherwise. In that regard, I couldn’t recommend clubs and sports enough. I moved mid sophomore year and making friends was quite the journey, but my cross country teammates were the social highlight of my entire junior year.
My verdict: to socialize? Yes. Join. If you’re just dragging your feet into a monthly meeting for the hell of it? Drop it. Don’t waste your time.