Bob The Resume Builder

Students join multiple clubs in an attempt to impress colleges.

Hannah Cole, Managing Editor

Picture the perfect student. Perfect grades. Perfect test scores. Perfect attendance record. Perfect attitude. Perfect level of participation in activities and sports. Perfect leadership resume. The perfect student that all colleges will approve of.

To embody the perfect student and earn that college acceptance letter, kids scramble to join activities that will paint them as a well-rounded applicant. Clubs, leadership roles and extracurriculars compose an impeccable college application. In this panic to achieve their facade, teens often fail to remember their true interests.

With a wide collection of clubs to select from, a world of new experiences awaits students hoping to achieve this perfection. From Yoga Club to debate, National Honors Society to the Office Club, Jewish Student Union to the Muslim Student Association, teens can find their passions, but they can also lose themselves.

Instead of joining clubs to find new interests or help the community, students do the minimum required for the organization to obtain the coveted graduation cord or the participation credit, perpetrating a theme of elitism.

Honor societies now exist in every academic endeavor but instead of staying committed to a particular area, the goal is to be in as many as possible. While monochromatic images can be a bit boring, splashing too many colors can be too busy. If students were to add details and nuance, those resume items would stand out.

“In my opinion, I think a majority of students at West who meet the requirements of joining an honors society mainly do it for the resume building and maybe because their friends joined them as well,” senior Pratik Thakur said.

The opportunities for community service or the prospect of learning more in a specialized field may no longer hold importance. Reading a book for National English Honors Society or visiting a museum for the Social Studies Honors Society, Rho Kappa, holds no true purpose other than to maintain an illusion of participation. However, this criticism should not discourage students from participating, rather allow them to consider the implications of joining certain organizations while finding their interests.

I don’t think it’s wrong to join [a] club because we never know where our interests may lie and we may discover some interests in joining a club,” senior Jinia Chakraborty said. “However, I do think it’s wrong to seek leadership positions for the sake of writing in on a resume and then not following through with your responsibilities.”

Finding new interests and seeking experience in the world of leadership helps students grow. Yet, it then becomes difficult to not cross the fine line between exploring and exploiting. Leadership, in particular, requires an enthusiastic mind to guide others and inspire them to engage in their endeavors.

“To be elected for a leadership position should mean something, and you should only accept that if you are willing to dedicate the time it takes to make that club the best it can be,” Chakraborty said. “I know that even in April when the worst of ‘senioritis’ hits me, that I’ll still be dedicated to planning and organizing the Blood Drive, for example. I say that because I know that I enjoy the work that I do for [the] Blood Drive and I don’t see it as a burden on me.”

When students genuinely enjoy the activities they engage in, the subsequent responsibilities seem less strenuous and their work seems more fulfilling. A love for the work rather than just membership shines through, especially to colleges who tend to gravitate toward students who created or participated in passion projects. These projects indicate an interest and skill in one field rather than a scattered struggle to prove versatility.

Senior Mimi Nguyen spends her time participating in a wide variety of clubs that reflect her personality. She’s a part of DECA, FCCLA, NHS, Red Cross, Mentors, SNHS, BV Robotics, BV Femineers, BV Girls Who Code and more.

“I’ve held multiple positions such as treasurer, vice president and leadership roles between the clubs,” Nguyen said. “One thing I am grateful for by joining all these clubs was realizing what I did and didn’t enjoy.”

Students like Nguyen discovered their interests as well as their dislikes. They differentiated between the clubs they enjoyed versus the clubs that bored them, ending participation in the clubs they didn’t like became the critical step.

“My biggest advice to underclassmen is to join a club or activity that follows your interest,” Nguyen said “Clubs are also a great opportunity to connect with others who share the same interests as you. I just wished I learned how to stop when I didn’t have a passion for some clubs… joining 10 clubs you’re not interested in isn’t worth it.”

Keeping busy with a plethora of abstract activities does not foster more success or happiness, instead, it removes the purpose and meaning for students. If this culture of elitism continues, students will not truly enjoy their high school experience. The overload of club activities and meetings can overwhelm a kid’s mind and all for an extra bullet point on a college application.

Every day, when I leave school for Garmin, [I learn] that there are not enough hours in a day for me to do every club as I did before,” Nguyen said “Initially, it was hard for me to realize that, but it’s an important lesson I think every student at West needs to learn.”

Imperfection is okay because the qualities make every student unique. The perfect student represents one monochromatic version of a student, but not individuality or diversity. It’s okay not to hold the presidency in every honors society or planning committee. It’s okay to limit activities to a few interesting clubs. The high school experience should not be burdened with clubs that simply aren’t interesting, instead, it should be a time in which students discover themselves.

I would say that there definitely is pressure to do a million things and be a leader in all of those million things, but I tried to avoid that pressure by choosing to do things that I know that I enjoy doing,” said Chakraborty. “I believe that it won’t make a difference to a college admissions representative if I can’t show that I’m truly passionate about something.”