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  • 1. 
  • strong and barely controllable emotion.
    “a man of impetuous passion”

Note: not just for college!

During my years as an underclassman, I watched as seniors scrambled to fill up their college applications with reputable community service opportunities and admirable leadership positions in clubs that didn’t interest them. They devoted multiple hours a week to these activities and pursued positions simply for the title. Being young and impressionable, I was dreading my future in high school. Nothing seemed enjoyable; it was all for the sake of acceptance and approval. Additionally, there was very little variety at my school. Administrators focused mostly on sports teams and didn’t put much effort into providing opportunities for more academic-based students. 

In an attempt to make some new friends, I joined a few clubs that seemed reasonably fun and not too demanding. I participated in the Gardening club, Astronomy club, and Interact club. It wasn’t until the end of that year that I had discovered something that would change my entire course. My school had a newspaper decades ago that had just been revived. I hadn’t considered myself a writer just yet, though I always had this pull to be one. I had just started writing for You Matter, and hadn’t yet gotten used to my work being read by others. After joining the paper, I was given the position of editor only a year later. I worked to get other students involved and helped them hone their craft. I had completely forgotten this club would ever be recognized by admissions officers or my teachers, because I genuinely enjoyed what I was devoting my time to. 

The bigger the paper got, the more I wanted to be involved. I sought to join the Class Office and organized bake sales with my friends. I took on a leadership role in the Gardening club because I wanted to see it grow. Stepping into the world of politics, I found out I had an interest in World Affairs. Just for fun, I decided to start a Volleyball club. I didn’t have much experience in the sport, but it was something our school didn’t yet offer that had a lot of interest. It was so fulfilling to see my fellow students throw their backpacks on the gym floor and verse their friends after school not because they wanted to win, but because they wanted to have fun. I hadn’t realized that while I thought I was doing things to help others, I was also helping myself. I made so many friends during this journey of self-discovery and learned a number of skills that I otherwise would have missed out on. Not to mention all of the events I would have neglected to attend because I didn’t want to step outside of my box!

It was such a privilege to have an outlet for my passions, because I may not have ever discovered them otherwise. In being a part of many different communities, I was constantly inspired and exposed to a plethora of people–memories I wouldn’t trade for the world. These small victories (organizing the school dance, orchestrating a food and clothing drive, spreading the word about current events, giving back to the environment) were the things I’ll remember the most about high school. They are the things that truly matter. 

There is a place for everyone, an interest for everyone, and if there isn’t a club for everyone, start one! High school does not have to be about whose resume is the biggest. It is, and should be, a time to find yourself and make time for your own interests, whatever they may be. Giving yourself a nudge to try something new is never bad, but forcing yourself into a place you don’t want to be is harmful too, especially when there are so many options out there! The world is so big and full of life, and getting to explore your own small slice of it is what makes being a teenager so special. Take advantage of this time in your life. Your future self will thank you for much more than your biography.