Bonjour Time readers. I've had a long break from Whyville, but I'm back. Recently, I've been very busy with a few extracurricular activities at my high school. Doing stuff beyond "wasting" 6 hours a day at school, getting B's, and going home will give you so many advantages when applying to colleges, help you on future jobs, show you a more relaxing side to school, let you get out your inner nerd (because, we all have one), and of course, meet friends. There probably are quite a few clubs at your school, some that (I hope) you are members of, and some that you're not sure about. I wanted to give you a better idea of some of the clubs your school might have.
There really are quite a few, and I can only get to some of them. I go to a relatively small school (Around 500-600 students), and we don't have as many clubs as your high school might, so I want to apologize in advance if I left out your favorite club.
FBLA - FBLA, or "Future Business Leaders of America [Sorry Canadians]," is a great organization for high school, and middle school students. Don't let the name turn you away (it does sound a little too . . . grown up, boy scout-ish), FBLA really did surprise me this year. Truthfully, I signed up because I thought it would look good to a college, and I ended up getting much more.
In FBLA, you compete in different events, from Impromptu Speaking (you get a topic, and have 10 minutes to prepare a speech on it), to Computer Game design, more business-centered events, like Business Calculations (a test on investments, ratios, and other math you need in business), and Business Presentation. Generally (depending on your state), there is a Fall Conference early in the year, where students can see what FBLA is all about, through workshops, and meetings. In January, February, or March, you have the Winter conference, where students compete in events for a chance at going to state. The state conference, which is generally in March or April, is a great experience, where you stay in an amazing hotel, in a beautiful city in your state, and compete to go to Nationals, which is in the summer.
Besides the conferences, there are a lot of things you do within your club. Every year, FBLA has a new charity, which your chapter has a fundraiser for, which can get very competitive between high schools. Beyond that, there is also a lot of leadership opportunities in FBLA. I really enjoyed serving as my high school chapter's president, and I plan on running for my state VP next year. FBLA has both high school and middle chapters. Some schools have a DECA program, which is similar to FBLA, but focusing more on advertising. The two are pretty much sworn enemies.
Speech and Debate - Speech and debate is really great for students who like to scream. (Only slightly kidding . . .) Speech and Debate encompasses everything from acting, to speeches on current events, to an event called "Congress," where groups of students meet, and debate bills as if they were in congress, to, my favorite, debates, where you prepare a case beforehand, and argue a side back on forth. I've debated everything from whether chocolate beats vanilla (that was in an event called SPAR, a one-on-one debate where you don't get the topic until you're there . . . Oh, and vanilla, which I was arguing for, won . . .), to whether the costs of college are worth the benefits (that was a 2-on-2 debate where you had your argument prepared before, and which got a lot of us seriously thinking about whether we wanted to go to college or not). There are many different organizations for debates. My school operates under the National Forensic League (NFL).
Speech and debate is great, whether or not you are good in front of crowds. In fact, especially if you're not good with crowds. It really helps with that, and I have had quite a few laughs, and learned more in a few months than in all of 9th grade, during speech and debate. I really recommend it.
Art Club - Ever been walking around your school, when you see a sculpture or painting, and go, "Wow, that looks nice," just to find out it was done by a student? If not, GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF YOUR EYES AND PUT IT BACK IN YOUR NOSE!!! Most schools have beautiful artwork hanging out of every window, and in every hallway. A great deal of the art is done by students in art classes, or in art club. Art club provides an extra boost more than an art class, and can make students much, much happier with themselves. I personally can't draw a stick figure, but my sister (Tanibanan) has created some incredible art work in art club. I really recommend it if you have any talent WHATSOEVER in art.
National Honor Society - Want to give back to your community, while getting something great to put on a college, or work resume? Then NHS is perfect for you. In NHS, you get credit for going out in your community and volunteering, whether at a local soup kitchen, a day care, tutoring, or whatever else you want to do to help your community. It is a HUGE plus to colleges to be a member of NHS, and can even get you some scholarships, which is just something to keep in mind. NHS is a great way to help yourself, help your community, and help your school.
Band - Band and I have a . . . hate-love relationship. Sometimes I think it's the greatest thing in the world. And sometimes (Usually during freezing football games, where the pep band can be heard blaring from 3 miles away), I hate it. But, as much as I sometimes hate to admit, band really is a good thing. There are many pros, and only a few cons to band. It is great on a college application, it can help you make new friends, and teaches you an amazing skill, and can incite a passion for music that is hard to find elsewhere. Cons . . . Pep/Marching band . . . I'm lazy. I didn't sign up for band to walk, or stand watching some high schoolers tackle each other for hours. But, as my music teacher (Who is sometimes another CON at my school) says, "There's a reason you get a PE waiver [a HUGE pro] for doing band.
Whether you want to learn how to play an instrument (clarinet and saxophone are the best, in my humble opinion), or meet friends, or just have something to say to a college, band can truly help, and be a great thing.
Foreign Language/Culture Clubs - Most (if not all) schools offer classes to learn a different language besides English, and many schools also have separate clubs, where you can go deeper into the culture of the language, and the language itself. These clubs (and classes) can teach you a lot about the world outside your little corner. If you have any interest in current events, other cultures, history, business, going on "Jeopardy", or of getting a chance to meet people from other countries, I really do suggest joining one of these clubs. J'adore parler le Francais! (I love speaking French, as little as I know)
So, get out there. Join a club. Meet some friends. You might surprise yourself with how much you enjoy these clubs. Colleges might surprise by their eagerness to have you in there schools because you were in those clubs. Clubs, in the end, make that place we dread going to, AKA school, that much less painful.
Enjoy, and always remember, VANILLA BEATS CHOCOLATE!
Author's Note: Sources: www.wafbla.org
and my school's website, which shall remain hidden.