Stop resume building and focus on pursuing your interests

Taylor Murray | The Chronicle

Many high school students find themselves concerned with the impression of their resumes and amount of bullet points on their brag sheets as they near college, especially at an academically competitive school like Mason. However, when you focus all of your efforts on acquiring titles and renown within the school and our clubs, you lose the opportunity to truly learn from and appreciate your activities.

Commitment is vital to fully engaging in an extracurricular. If you find yourself unable to give the proper amount of mental and physical energy to your sport or club, then you need to make a change.

I have never had to struggle with this truth in my own life, opting to stick with one or two activities over a span of multiple years that I enjoy and can commit to rather than dabbling in several clubs and filling my schedule.

I went to a Japanese martial arts dojo for five years, putting the effort in to advance through the ranks and earn my black belt. While doing that, I joined clubs like Power of the Pen and the National Junior Honor Society. Since all of those activities only met once or twice a week – and I had the minimal intermediate school homework load – I was able to fully engage in each interest and get the most out of it.

Now, I spend my high school years as a part of the Mason Color Guard. I have practice for over 15 hours a week, and I love every minute of it. As a member of the leadership team, I have to be there for all 70 kids in guard and I make it a priority to be there every single day with full energy and positivity. I have had to pass up on club opportunities, peer tutoring and music lessons outside of school so that I could fulfill my role in color guard and keep up with all of my homework. Being able to properly devote my energy to guard and invest in the sport has been the reason for many new friendships, along with me becoming a more responsible, flexible and confident leader.

I can not sufficiently emphasize how important it is to find something that you love to do, whether it be a sport, volunteering, painting, or even just spending time with your family. You owe it to yourself and to those around you to not only pursue your passions, but to do so eagerly and wholeheartedly. When you instead pick a club merely for the title or ability to list it on your resume and college applications, you lose the opportunity to learn from and love that activity.

I am not saying that you must follow through and stick with every activity that you try; that would be impractical, and nearly impossible. However, when you find something that you truly love, you should devote as much time and energy to that activity as you can.

As the school year begins and flyers advertise new clubs throughout the halls, keep in mind what is genuinely
important to you before signing up for more than you can handle.

Whether something will look good on your resume or not, whether you were captain of the debate team or a member of the rock climbing club, whether you gathered 60 service hours or attended a book club – what really matters is your dedication and the fulfillment you achieve along the way.