“Getting involved” overrated or worthwhile?

I have never been the kind of person to seize chances or snatch up opportunities; as a side effect of my perpetual laziness I’ve always preferred to wait for them to approach me. So naturally, within my first month of being a student at Macleans, I hadn’t exactly thrown myself at any certain group or club, and spent most of my intervals and lunches doing homework that was due the next period. Yeah—Boring, I know.

Except I soon began to realise that co-curriculars at Macleans are a pretty big deal. After all, people flood to the daily notices pinned up everyday for a reason, right? Because the truth is, the co-curriculars you join are going to help you grow as a person through your years of college. It might sound ridiculous and dramatic—how could something like watching anime in a sweltering hot classroom every week or getting up at five in the morning only to end up drenched in sweat help “build character”? But I guarantee that every co-curricular you participate in while here at Macleans will have an impact on you if you give it the chance.

“Being involved in something greater than a family.” I rate this quote ten out of ten for cheesiness, but also ten out of ten for accuracy. Through the countless club meetings I’ve endured, regardless of whether I really wanted to be there or not, I’ve met new people, forged unexpected friendships, and really inserted myself into a welcoming environment where everyone’s linked somehow by a mutual interest or passion. Finding a group you belong to and sharing an adventure—a school trip, sports game, planned event, performance—is only the beginning of your treasured high school memories. These connections you make through co-curriculars might as well compose the group of people surrounding you for the majority of your time at school.

Macleans is going to be your second home for half a decade. In the thirty hours a week you spend here, you’ll get the chance to express yourself and establish a reputation through the roles and activities you take on. Who you are at school, whether you’re a music kid, sports enthusiast, aspiring artist, performer, public speaker, or a mix-and-match of those and many more, is going to contribute to your legacy when you graduate. Not only are your co-curriculars going to be a revealing piece of your overall person in the eyes of future potential employers, but also the eyes of teachers, younger students who look up to you, and, obviously, your peers. Your participation in teams and crews flaunts your talents and defining traits, and this open invitation to dabble in as many different hobbies as you want while you’re here inevitably paves a path for who you’ll be as an adult.

Finally, the most evident reason co-curriculars are particularly popular and important at Macleans: they’re fun. Planting trees with your friends on a weekend trip with free snacks, getting gold (or silver, or even just a bit of sunshine and exercise) with a close-knit, supportive team, being able to proudly say you’ve got another language under your belt (in multiple languages)… Honestly, you don’t want to spend your lunchtimes studying or just sitting around, do you? With around a hundred options, there’s gotta be something that appeals to you, so print out a copy of the co-curricular list, close your eyes, and see which one your finger lands on.

Don’t wait around for the perfect club or sports team to personally invite you to their sign-ups. Don’t feel afraid to go to trials or send in your application. Don’t tell yourself you’ll do it next year because, trust me, it becomes a habit. As Joyce from the News Committee said when I forced an overdramatic quote out of her, “The pain of regret is greater than the pain of being pushed out of your comfort zone.” Refuse to let your opportunities escape so easily. Go after them at the relentless pace at which I chased people for cheesy quotes for this article. Co-curricular at Macleans means opening an undiscovered world of passions and experiences-to-be, so get out there and explore! I look forward to seeing you around.

By Isabel Li

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