by Danielle Tobb ‘17
The annual club fair during freshman orientation consists of students being swarmed by eager club members trying to convince them to join their club. If not for fun, for the college apps, many urge. If you’re like me, you saw the dozens of clubs at Sherwood as completely overwhelming. But as an incoming freshman, the more I thought about it, the more preoccupied I became with the idea of joining multiple clubs to showcase my leadership and people skills to not only colleges, but myself.
The culture at Sherwood and other high schools is competitive when it comes to clubs. From freshman orientation to senior year, counselors stress the notion that club involvement is one of the greatest factors that will assist a student in getting into college. Yet, what students were never told is how much is too much. This lack of clarity precipitates students to not just stop at joining one or two clubs, but too many to count on one hand.
Feeling the pressure to look “good” to colleges, some students find themselves in ten different clubs, only three of which they enjoy. Do you think those students are really going to attend the weekly meetings for all of the clubs they joined at the beginning of the year? Probably not. But at the end of the year, they will still write it down on their resumes— so mission accomplished, I guess? Although attempting to look like “the total package” and “diverse,” joining too many clubs does none of the aforementioned. Being over-involved can indeed be a bad thing.
Look at it this way: when you join five or six honor societies and clubs, you have to fulfill the requirements for all of them. For National Honor Society, for example, this can translate to five hours of tutoring a semester. Add four clubs to the mix, which means four meetings you have to attend each week.
On top of the stress of completing these requirements, club meetings sometimes fall on the same day. This leads students to spend only five minutes at one club meeting (just long enough to sign in and say they were there) before sprinting to another meeting. Rather than spending quality time cultivating teamwork skills and becoming completely involved in a certain club, most students find themselves getting nothing out of clubs but a certificate of participation. Although you can say you joined a club, you should ask yourself, “Was I really a member?”
Joining two or three clubs that you are passionate about will go a long way for both college admissions and your own self-esteem. You’ll feel like you’re making a real difference in whatever club you are participating in, and it will help you grow as an individual more so than if you were to join six clubs. Being able to hone in on your interests during club meetings, and then apply the skills you learn later on in college and beyond is what matters.