How I Chose My HS Extracurriculars ― A Real Student’s Story
This article is a first-person account by Yesh Datar, a Boston University student and CollegeVine livestream contributor. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
Emergency Service Volunteer
I was always interested in medicine, so I knew going into high school that I wanted to focus my attention on this area. This was my reasoning behind choosing to volunteer in my community as an emergency medical technician. To accomplish this, I had to take a 270-hour training course through a camp. A couple of classmates from my high school ended up joining as well, and I served as a cadet in the emergency squad with them.
While I served as a medical technician, I rode in the back of the ambulance, ready to help out those in need. I also volunteered with the American Red Cross as a part of their youth council. At the American Red Cross, I held various leadership positions where I arranged blood donation and food drives and installed fire alarms. Both of these volunteering positions in emergency services helped me connect and give back to my community. If you are interested in medicine, volunteering is the best way to get hands-on experience at such a young age.
In terms of science clubs at school, I was involved in a diverse range of organizations. One of them was called the Academic League, where my team and I would travel around to different high schools in our area and compete in a trivia competition. This club was based on fun and random facts, so while it didn’t relate to my love for science as much as my other classes, it was a ton of fun competing with my friends. Your extracurriculars are all about balance, so it’s okay if every club you are part of isn’t doing groundbreaking scientific research.
I was part of a synthetic biology club as well. In this club, we would perform a bunch of biological experiments with pipettes and cell cultures in our high school biology classroom. The experiments we performed were fun, such as making microbes glow in the dark or smell like strawberries.
While my focus in high school was dedicating my time to medical volunteering and science clubs, I was also involved in sports and music. I competed in ultimate Frisbee throughout high school. This sport was never taken too seriously like many other high school athletics, but we did end up going to State one year. I loved my time in ultimate frisbee because it provided balance to a rigorous course load and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) organizations. This extracurricular allowed me to be active and have fun with friends, which is an important part of taking care of your mental health in high school.
The extracurricular that took up the most amount of my time was high school band. I had played the saxophone since first grade, and I kept up with it throughout high school, playing in our concert band and marching band. My dedication to the band meant I rose to drum major in my senior year. This is a leadership role given to only a couple of students each year who work along with the band director to lead the marching band. In all the extracurriculars I was passionate about, I made sure to strive for leadership positions. I learned a lot from my leadership roles, and I think those skills shone through on my college applications.