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Co-curricular tips

15.03.13

Co-curricular is a huge part of student life, especially at Macleans.

Your house leaders and form teachers have probably been repeating ‘Get involved’ more than enough times (in Snell anyway!) But sometimes, it’s good to step back and have a think about why we actually do them which may lead to how we choose which activities (and how many) to get involved in.

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Apart from it being compulsory, what are the advantages of doing a co-curricular activity?

  • Naturally, we meet new and different people through doing co-curriculars. I know I’ve made strong, life-long friends and have built awesome memories through the events and trainings that are involved in an activity. There’s really no better way to meet a variety of people than doing a variety of co-curriculars.
  • These activities are incredibly handy to have on your CV or a University Application. Universities now look at the interests, passions and involvement of the student as well as their grades, wanting to have well-rounded individuals. Of course, within the school, teachers look at your involvements as well as your character in picking prefects, peer support leaders etc.
  • You get to learn and improve your skills, whether it’s in sports or music or even service! You (hopefully) get to have fun while doing it; have a bit of friendly competition and then get a reward as you compete in tournaments or events.
  • They’re a fantastic way of building up leadership skills as you take personal responsibility for the group, especially as you get to senior school. You can also build relationships with teachers that can be really helpful, whether you need to ask them for advice or support, or just help with the subject they teach.
  • Co-curriculars give you a group to identify with.

Tips for Co-curricular

  • Do something you enjoy. Seriously. There’s no point committing to a group which you’re just going to act miserably in.
  • Do something new each year! Co-curriculars are a great way of exposing yourself to new people and learning new skills. There are many groups apart from the premier teams which you can join just to try something, and see if you might have a passion for it.
  • Aim for a variety. It’s important to specialise in one core activity throughout your time at Macleans but do a bit of sport, cultural, service, and maybe join some intercultural clubs too! Again, this just helps you meet new people and become a more well-rounded individual
  • One of the biggest perks of co-curriculars is the potential to become a leader. If you have this aspiration, consider planning ahead, joining early and taking personal responsibility for it. If you have this aim, check the co-curricular you want to do has some sort of leadership role for students as well!
  • Do short-term co-curriculars. Life gets really hectic once you’re juggling multiple year long activities as well as study, homework, socialising, you name it. If you just want to expose yourself to more activities, choose something that doesn’t last as long. This works if you just want it on your list! Examples I can think of are Orienteering (4 Tuesdays), House Choirs and House Sports. Academic competitions which are normally one morning work really well too.
  • Do House activities/sports. This is just a really good chance to get to know the other people in your house, have some fun at lunch time, a really short-term co-curricular to have, and a way to try something new. Of course there are the choirs and lipsync which are becoming more and more competitive between houses.
  • Something to look out for is what the activity can lead to outside of school. For example, playing in a premier team might get you picked for a regional squad. You can play for the Manukau Symphony Orchestra after you leave school. Model United Nations can give you contacts so you can volunteer and work for them, even after you leave Macleans.
  • Link similar co-curriculars. For example, in sport, you might want to do hockey and cricket, or tennis and volleyball; something that uses the same action that will help develop both! With music, this is practically expected with concert band and stage band, or orchestra.
  • Don’t hoard co-curriculars for the sake of it. There’s really no point in being involved in 30 activities where nobody knows you; playing a dynamic part in a more select group of activities is better. Oh, and seriously, badges are good but don’t become obsessed about it. Once you’re out of high school, no one cares how many blue badges you had on your jumper.
  • Be careful, don’t get too involved. Of course, school is definitely not all about the academics but you don’t want your grades to lag behind due to being too busy. Watch this especially for singers in June/July, and music groups in August. Just aim for a balance so you don’t burn out by doing one thing too much. Leave time for family, friends and other interests you might want to do outside of school. Co-curriculars should by no means take up your entire life.
  • Enjoy! You’re going to have a very tough time if you’re doing the activities just to get kudos from teachers. There should be a balance between the activities being a means to becoming more recognised, placed on applications, and as an end, for example in training skills and leadership. Just do what you love, but keep an eye out for how this might help you in the long run as well.
  • The activities you choose should not end up being who you are, but show who you are, your interests and personality. That’s why it’s important to emphasise quality over quantity. Forgive me for the cliché but 100% effort really counts. If you don’t want to end up being the dude no one knows, and can forget to turn up to training without anyone noticing, put in some decent effort, try your best, and be interested. Life, and time at school, is too short to muck about.

Just to sum up, just know where you want to go and use the co-curricular system as a way of helping you get there while meeting awesome new people, developing yourself and doing things you never thought you could do! Co-curriculars can be a pain or something you can look back to with fond memories after school.

By Keniel Yao

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