Defined in the Webster Dictionary as “a state of well-being and contentment.” It is a word, a feeling, that everyone has experienced at one point in their life.
Extracurricular activities often bring this joy into the lives of students. From sports to leadership to service, these brain breaks serve as an expressive outlet for many people.
However, as high school students begin to feel the pressure of becoming an adult and potentially going to college, many struggle to remain true to themselves.
A poll was conducted among 35 high school students to see how many would participate in an extracurricular for the sake of appealing to their dream school. Unsurprisingly, 49% of students said they choose their extracurriculars because they enjoyed them, while 51% said they choose activities that colleges liked to see.
As a result, many pick up activities including debate, leadership opportunities, academic teams/clubs, creative pursuits, sports, and internships that appeal to their dream school.
According to U.S. News, the quality of a college hopeful’s extracurricular activities matters more than the number of activities they do.
Ultimately, colleges look for dedication, which takes passion and commitment. Dedication can’t be found through an activity that someone doesn’t genuinely enjoy.
Some may say that they are merely doing something that would help them achieve their goal. However, getting to that goal has many different methods, and staying true to yourself is deemed more important than pushing through an extracurricular that you don’t enjoy.
Additionally, the College Board emphasizes that extracurricular activities allow colleges to get to know their applicants outside of academics. Participating in activities you don’t have passion for only pushes individuals into a false sense of reality.
Jeff Brenzel, the dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Yale University, advises students to participate in extracurriculars that they enjoy instead of trying to outguess the admissions committee.
“Because what you truly enjoy, you’re probably going to be good at, and you’re probably going to get better at-whether it’s one activity, two activities, three activities-don’t obsess on whether it’s an activity that everyone else in the world is doing,” Brenzel said.
Proceeding to the next steps of life with a set of dedicated interests is deemed more powerful. It is also more likely that one will get something out of an experience that they enjoyed.
However, happiness lies parallel to talent and potential, urging students to choose their extracurriculars based on their interests, leading to a more fulfilling lifestyle.
Ultimately, students should enjoy the extracurriculars they participate in instead of wasting their time to try and impress colleges.