Written By Filip Åsberg Montgomery
Life Outside the Classroom – Extracurricular Activities
Published: March 1, 2017
One of the main reasons I chose to come to the United States for my secondary education was my love for extra curricular activities. In high school I was involved with everything from Sports teams, to student government, to tutoring, to mountaineerings.. I heard that clubs and extra curricular involvement in Europe was either non-existent or paled in comparison with the United States, but the extent to which clubs and organizations form part of your learning experience in the US took me a little bit by surprise.
Brown has more than 450 student organizations ranging from acapella groups, to volunteering, to investment groups. My mistake my first semester was that I wanted to continue my high school legacy of staying involved in EVERYTHING but I soon came to realize that in the United States students don’t half-ass clubs: you meet several times a week, there is constant communication and people expect you to do your part. So for this reason I withdrew from some of the organizations I was not too passionate about but felt compelled to join (like the international organization or a translation journal) to focus on things I actually cared about (and to strengthen my resume hehe)
I now have two major organizations and a sport that I devote most of my time to outside of the classroom. I’m the creative director for an online arts and culture publication (it’s called Vagabond Magazine if youre interested 😉 ) where I mediate the communication between the editorial and the arts team. I am one of the managers for an outdoor pre-orientation program where we train leaders for over 140h to lead 8 underclassmen on a 5 day backpacking trips in New Hampshire before school starts again in the fall. My biggest involvement is probably skiing, as we have practice from 5.45am-12.30 twice a week (including travel time) and then races most weekends…. but the season is almost over and to be honest I am feeling quite ready.
What I would advice incoming students to do is to start out broad and then narrow down. Go to the activities fair during orientation and put your name down for anything that may interest you, go to a few meetings the first few weeks and see what the vibe is like. Sometimes the things you are the most interested in are poorly managed which can make for an awful experience, and sometimes you discover something completely new that turns into a passion. After a few weeks or the first semester is when you should start thinking critically about what you want to stay involved in and let the rest go, it will make it much easier to seek out leadership positions which always make for great talking points on resumes!