Eye of the Editors: Extracurriculars

EXTRACURRICULARS: What were once activities full of intrinsic value are now ingredients for college applications and have lost meaning to students who only see them for their value to colleges.

It is difficult to talk about Diamond Bar High School without mentioning the students’ competitive attitude and frenzy-like drive to be accepted into a good college. The results of this drive are embedded into almost every aspect of DBHS, from the variety of AP classes offered to the abundance of extracurricular.

Students have created a formula for getting into college: a good GPA, tons of extracurriculars, and great test scores. However, while grades and test scores can be obtained simply by a student’s dedication and hard work, extracurricular activities call for a degree of passion for the activity. In recent years, it has become evident that clubs have become part a system rather than a way to follow one’s passion.

When school clubs first began, they were created as ways for students to pursue interests. A club was initially a group of people who had similar interests and sought to share a common passion with others.

Officers of the group provided members with opportunities and events in which the students would pursue their interest, and the entire group benefited from this. Because extracurricular involvement had little to do with college admissions years ago, clubs focused more on personal enrichment.

Today’s definition of a club, however, is a distorted version of its original intent. Now, being a part of a club is all about the title earned and not the experience gained. It seems that officers benefit more from their position, as they get a chance to write their titles on their college apps.

Meanwhile, members often join clubs simply to indicate to colleges that they were a part of that activity in high school. As a result, students go through the motions of being a part of a club, and in an attempt to seem well-rounded, join many different ones. The experience is synthetic; many students no longer feel passion for their activities.

In an attempt to tackle the leadership section of the college application, students create and become president of their own clubs. This not only results in many similar clubs, but it also allows students to cheat their way into a title. The solution to this growing epidemic is quite simple. Students should simply stick to their own passions and use clubs to discover and further them.

It is time for students to learn and schools to preach that what is more important than grades and college acceptance is self-development, which is hindered when students spend their high school years in the context of college applications. High school should not be a four-year audition for college, but rather a time to learn about new things and receive experiences to help one grow as a person.

Being overly involved isn’t the problem, and neither is taking initiative. It is the idea that one has to fit a certain profile to impress colleges that feeds this growing issue. Clubs should be about pursuing interests and passions, not titles.