I’d always been an extrovert but found starting secondary school hard, so much so that I found myself even dreading saying my name on the register call. There were two ways to combat this – either become a shrinking wallflower for the next five years or join a club that would force me to step outside my comfort zone and y’know, actually TALK.
And while it totally did the trick – I managed to find my voice again after joining several, including drama club and the school magazine – joining an extracurricular ended up being WAY more rewarding than I realised. From making friends with people I wouldn’t normally have talked to, for one.
But don’t be fooled into thinking you can only join clubs inside school –– there are loads you can join in your local community, whether that’s abseiling or er, knitting (yep, not just for grannies FYI). So inside school or not, here’s why you should be joining an extra curricular sharpish…
1. It’s a confidence booster
The thing with extra-curricular activities is the more effort you put in, the more you end up joining others. It’s an addictive business, I tell you. I started off writing the school magazine and ended up getting the council to fund my own newsletter for my local community. OK, so it featured a picture of me smiling with my braces *cringe* but years later, I still can’t believe I created my own magazine at 12. Sure, putting yourself out there can be scary but once you do things outside of your comfort zone, you realise you can take on ANYTHING.
2. It’s something to look forward to
It’s Monday morning, you’re in double maths – can it get worse? Nope. Having something to look forward to at the end of the day can give you the motivation to get that long division done (bleurgh) when it’s the last thing you fancy doing.
3. You can make new friends
It can sometimes be hard to find BFFs in the classroom if you work better in small groups. But if you have a niche interest – crochet anyone?! – it can be a lot easier to bond with people. Joining the drama club was a great way for me to build friendships with people I had initially dismissed.
4. It opens up your mind
You don’t have to be lumped with the first extra-curricular you choose – I picked piano, violin lessons, karate, horse-riding and later settled for drama club and creative writing. OK, so horse riding was a bit scary – you actually have to get on a horse FYI – but trying out loads of new things is one of the funnest parts. And bonus: it saves you spending your time scrolling through Instagram watching everyone else’s lives. Instead, you’ll get to create something you’re proud of, whether that’s a play, a magazine or a crocheted hat.
5. And can help you find your future career
Joining the school magazine may have been a way to unleash my creativity – let’s face it, it’s not exactly easy to be creative in trigonometry is it?! – but it can help you to realise you have other interests, whether that’s having a penchant for jazz music or niche sneaker knowledge. Handy if you want to impress your friend’s older brother.
Oh, and that Duke of Edinburgh award? It may have helped Alexandra from 7B realise she wanted to be a sports teacher but for me, it just cemented that fact that I was *NEVER* going to be one. And that camping wasn’t for me. *Shudders*
6. You can gain new skills
Adding ‘going to school’ or ‘a whizz at naming historical figures’ to your CV isn’t enough to get a part-time Saturday job, is it? If you fancy giving yourself some extra pocket money – and your parents approve – you can add time management, teamwork and goal setting as extra skills. We’re totally on board.
7. It’s a great conversation starter
Who hasn’t felt a bit shy striking up conversation at a party? Stepping outside of your comfort zone may be daunting at first but if you’re shy, it can be a great conversation starter at social gatherings. Our advice? Joining something new may be scary for the first few times but once you’re settled in, you’ll wonder why it took you so long.
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