A shift in club culture
May 11, 2023
When the class of 2023 first filed into the school in 2019, there was no shortage of clubs; there was, also, no shortage of enthusiasm. Each extracurricular had something unique to offer, and we were excited to explore each individual world. Whether it was Science Olympiad or Speech and Debate, every club was actively involved in the school, and its leaders seemed so far beyond us. We were, also, the first class to have the 8-point graduation box requirement—but as freshmen, that was not the sole motive for joining.
Now, though, it seems like every student in the building has several clubs under their roster—that, or clubs seem to lack both participation and engagement (the class of 2023’s NHS total being half than years’ prior). Every year, students still have the opportunity—more than that, there is almost a hard push for students to try and join as many clubs as possible. Though we could attribute a portion of that to the box requirement, in actuality, a large portion comes from the pressure of college applications, as though if we do not add just one more club, our efforts are futile.
Students do not need to join an abundance of clubs for an application
Yet, for all the clubs our school has to offer, and for all the extracurriculars that we join, there are so many that students have no idea exist. How many students were aware that we have a Middle Eastern Culture Club? Or, how many clubs have slowly dwindled away over time due to a lack of true, authentic engagement?
When students join so many clubs, solely for the sake of joining them, it almost defeats the purpose of the requirement in the first place. Whether it is directly related to college apps, or if the pandemic has created yet another level of apathy, there has been a shift in almost the culture of joining clubs itself. The requirement itself is not futile, but the issue lies in where students are motivated to join.
No longer are students joining primarily out of interest or work ethic, but for the sake of a college application, or to passively take in information. And, as a result, the quality of the clubs, and the community they provide, diminishes.