Photo by: Rhiannan Ruef
With the pressures of college approaching and intensifying competition for spots in universities, more and more students are getting lost in the rat race to appear the most eligible. More often than not, students miss the bigger picture: there’s much more to life than “looking good” for college.
As a freshman, I tried to join my first high school club; it seemed promising, and was one of the largest and most established in the school at the time. Soon after basic introductions and the offerings of volunteer jobs, I quickly and genuinely became concerned for my own safety—people were practically shoving each other out of the way to get to that sign-up sheet first. It was like a reenactment of The Hunger Games.
It made me wonder: why are people doing this? Looking good for college is not a life or death situation, right?
I don’t remember the last time somebody around me joined a club or organization because they wanted to, or thought they might enjoy it, and that’s a real shame. High school should be a time where one intellectually flourishes at their own leisure and explores their own interests, and the causes and organizations they most connect to; not a time to trample over each other for generic volunteer jobs they didn’t want to do in the first place.
To clarify, I am most definitely not discouraging the involvement of today’s youth in charity work; but, if that charity work is simply an empty means to seem more appealing to their choice of university, then what’s the point in doing these things at all?
The next time you go for that volunteer job, make sure it means something to you. In other words, passion equals success. Being passionate about helping others and doing what you love is what truly matters. It may require you to step out of your comfort zone: there’s an infinite number of opportunities high school has to offer.
Furthermore, life is more than admittance to college. It’s established that not everyone will get into Stanford. There’s much more out there than making our lives miserable with tedious and torturous tasks, coupled with schoolwork and sports, for merely the hope of grasping that spot in whatever university. Goals and ambition are needed to succeed in life, but that shouldn’t mean making your own high school experience complete and utter agony.
Right now, it is understandably a goal to further our educations, but, that’s simply the first step in the journey of life. There are bigger and better things that we will all do with our lives after high school. In a few years, that one volunteer job that you resented doing won’t even be remotely relevant anymore.
So, don’t feel like it’s the end of the world if you didn’t make the team, get into a certain club, or get that one volunteer job. Colleges care about students with passion and a story, and now is the time to write yours. Do what you love, and that’s what will truly prevail to be beneficial for whatever goals you set for yourself in the future.