Photo provided by The Princeton Review.
In high school there are a lot of different activities available to students aside from the obvious goal of getting educated. These include sports, community service, hanging with friends, choir, dance groups, and, of course, clubs. If you are good at a sport, your college application reflects that, which can improve your chances of getting accepted into good colleges. Community service has that effect as well.
But what about clubs? Are they worth participating in and devoting our precious time to? My opinion: yes, they do offer the opportunity for relevant skill development. They allow you to meet new people, and they do look good on college applications as well. But what else makes clubs so special that so many people participate in them year after year? I attempted to answer this question by interviewing people who have been a part of clubs for a long time, and who have made their way up to hold an official position.
Mehul Nair is an officer of the WHS Debate Club, a very well-established club here in Washington. He joined the Debate Club as a freshmen and worked his way up through the ranks until he reached his current position as an officer. Mehul says, “WSD is a club that prepares students for High School competition debate and speech,” a field he has been interested in since his freshman year. He continues, ”[it] teaches good argumentation and speaking skills.Tournaments also provide great opportunities to visit colleges including UC Berkeley, Yale and Stanford. Debate has had a huge impact on me because it has made me much more confident and has improved my public speaking greatly.”
Clubs don’t only need to be about one certain thing like debate. In fact, there are many clubs that incorporate a multitude of skills.Wilhelm Scholz, the secretary of the newly formed Jazz Ensemble Club states, “Our club is about learning about and playing Jazz music… We cover all types of different jazz genres; Latin Jazz, Blues, etc.” The club meets every Tuesday at 3pm to rehearse. Wilhelm emphasized the many special skills you can learn while in the club, including how to “compose your own improvised solos, or how to play syncopated rhythms. Aside from musical techniques, our club also teaches concentration, perseverance, and even history (through brief lessons about the multicultural origins of jazz), culminating towards a well rounded individual.”
Well, what if music and debate aren’t your thing? What if you’ve been playing video games in your free time and getting no “useful” skills out of that? That’s where the WHS Gaming Club // Esports team comes in. Kazou Whateley, the Vice President of the club, says, “If you’ve been just playing a video game in your young life and were really good at it, this is the time it comes into use.” The club plays games such as Minecraft, Fortnite, CS:GO, R6, and Overwatch. It originally started out as a group of friends hanging out and playing games for fun, but this year they launched their official WHS Esports club/athletic department. Whately says “you can test your skills and be eligible for scholarships with your gaming skills, and build upon what you have right now to participate in College Esports which have been established throughout the UC system.”
All of these testaments prove that clubs are a valuable way to make friends, learn new or build upon existing skills, or heck, even enjoy an activity like gaming. To revisit my original question, “Are clubs worth participating in and devoting our precious time to?” My answer is a definitive yes.
Aansh Sharma is a junior at Washington High School. He grew up in Munich, Germany and Mumbai, India and then Fremont, California. This is his first year at the Hatchet. His interests are running the Gaming Club and reporting on the local news. He also likes to play video games. He would like to get a job in Computer Science to allow him to support himself. While Computer Science seems boring, he will try to have fun with it despite that, and also distract himself with gaming sometimes.