To some of you, welcome to high school, and to others, welcome back. We at Noodle are aware of some of the thoughts going through your head right now, because all of us had the same thoughts when we were in high school. You probably are thinking about how you want to fit in and you may even be thinking about how you are going to build your college application. Many students' decisions are driven by one if not both of these thoughts. Ours were.
However, you are not here to impress the other kids and, though it may seem strange, you are not even here to impress colleges. Of course, it is always important to keep your grades up, challenge yourself, and work hard, but don't forget that the reason you are doing these three things is to learn what you are interested in. You are here to find out what it is that you get excited about and make the most of your time.
That being said, here are a few things to keep in mind while you are trying to find the perfect activities outside the classroom:
Get involved right away. You will be able to make the most of your time in a club if you join while the club is still forming, and sports teams usually only have tryouts once a year. Also, as a freshman, you have a lot more time to shop around than you will in other years.
Don't be afraid to try something different. You'll be surprised how much you can change in high school. You may find that you like art a lot more than you realized, that track is nothing close to what you imagined, or that you never knew how much fun volunteer teaching could be.
Try many different things before you settle on one or a few, especially if the clubs and teams at your school have open houses. You may even commit to some activities for an entire year before you settle on your favorites.
Don't worry about choosing an activity that looks good. In fact, don't even be afraid to form your own club or team if the one you want doesn't exist yet. You won't stay in something for four years because it looks good. You'll stick with it and thrive because it interests you and because you are doing something you love, be it anime club, cheerleading, or Habitat for Humanity. Later in life, you will choose a college major based on your interests and your job prospects after college, but for now, anything goes, and if you really are worried about looking good for colleges, remember that even colleges care more about passion and commitment for four years than they do about the activities themselves.
In the grand scheme of things, you will eventually find that even the weirdest activity can lead you to the perfect college and the perfect major for you. It is never too early to start thinking about where this is all going. You can approach your college admissions counselor and all of us at Noodle to help you find the right path, hone your skills, and play to your strengths. Good luck!