Extracurriculars are an essential part of high school, but let's be honest, when choosing which activities to participate in, it's easy to get preoccupied with asking yourself which ones will look the best on your resume. Many high schoolers fall into the trap of choosing extracurriculars simply because they think colleges or employers will like to see their involvement in particular organizations. However, this line of thinking often forces teenagers into activities that they aren't genuinely passionate about. If you find yourself in this position, here's how to balance building your resume with doing activities you genuinely enjoy.
First off, don't be fooled by appearances. While academic clubs can be fun and engaging, you don't have to limit your extracurriculars to activities that correspond to the field you want to go into. It's great if you genuinely enjoy Science Olympiad or career clubs like FBLA or DCEA; I know I did. But don't feel obligated to do these if you don't actually enjoy them. You can still demonstrate that you have valuable traits and skills in clubs that don't necessarily prepare you for jobs after high school.
But what traits can you demonstrate in non-academic clubs? First and foremost, your involvement in non-academic groups can express passion, a quality for which colleges and employers are desperately looking. Whether you are passionate about STEM, music, athletics, art, health-related careers, volunteering, or anything else, demonstrating that you are willing to dedicate your time to something you love is a great way to show you are committed to your endeavors and would add value to a campus or workplace.
While passion is an excellent jumping-off point, extracurriculars are also a way to demonstrate another desirable trait: leadership. Whatever it is that you choose to participate in, try to excel in the organization by becoming a leader. Even in activities that aren't necessarily academic, becoming a leader and being respected by your peers is a way to make your resume stand out.
All in all, demonstrating that you will go above and beyond as a leader or innovator in whatever you choose to do is more impressive than mediocrity in an activity you don't enjoy. Remember, your extracurriculars are supposed to be a fun break from your school day. Focus on what you love and have fun!