Reporter finds her passions: Doing extracurricular activities for herself and not college


Tobi Kawanami

Junior Kaya Brown ponders about her passion.

On one of the first few days of school, freshman year, my peer mentor asked me what extracurriculars I was thinking of doing. The first time she asked, I told her I didn’t know. The next week, I threw out a few that I’d heard of, like mock trial and the fall play. The third week, I told her that I’d forgotten to audition for both of them, and figured that it was too late to join anything. I told myself that I just got the timing wrong, and would definitely put myself out there the next year.

Looking back on it now, I was lying to myself. I was a complete chicken shit my freshman year, too scared to join any clubs, sports, or do any extracurriculars. Lowell was this huge new school, where everyone was twice my height (Well, everyone is still twice my height, but I’ve gotten used to it; it was more intimidating then), and I thought everyone at Lowell was amazing at everything. I was too scared to try out for anything in fear of getting rejected. In middle school, I had always loved acting, but I was too scared to audition for the play. I had played the violin for nine years, but thought I wasn’t good enough to be in Lowell’s orchestra. I had played soccer for most of my life, along with doing softball and track in middle school, and had always loved sports, but didn’t think I could make any teams at Lowell.

Joining clubs and other activities is an important part of high school. All my friends were in crew, or debate, or ceramics, or the musical, and I wasn’t in anything. They were meeting new people, and finding ways to express themselves. I wanted something like that, too, but I kept finding ways to put it off — by telling myself that I wasn’t good enough, or that it was too late to join anything.

I only joined extracurriculars because I felt they would look good to colleges.

Sophomore year I started to get my act together. I joined a ton of teams and clubs, but I didn’t join anything that interested me. I only joined them because I felt that they would look good to colleges. (Well, I didn’t necessarily think that, but that’s what people were telling me, so I listened). None of them stuck. I tried robotics, debate and fencing, and I quitted all of them before the year was over. These activities didn’t motivate me because they weren’t things that I was excited about doing, but things that I felt I should do. I chose fencing because I thought I should have a sport, and fencing accepted everyone so I knew I wouldn’t get rejected. Like I said, chicken shit.

The only club that ended up sticking, was something I joined without the mindset of “I’m joining this for college,” or “I’m joining this because it makes me sound smart.” In fact, it was a club I didn’t know existed. One Monday after school, since I didn’t have any clubs of my own to go to, I followed some of my friends to their poetry club. In middle school, I loved writing poetry but I never thought of pursuing it as an extracurricular. This club stuck. I never left.


Then this fall I tried out for the school play and got a role. It was an amazing experience, and I got to meet new people and spend everyday doing something I love after school, instead of wasting away binge-watching How I Met Your Mother, eating entire bags of marshmallows, or procrastinating doing my homework.

For underclassmen out there, don’t make the same mistakes I did. If the extracurriculars you do don’t interest you, they won’t last. You need to be doing something you are passionate about. You might not know what that is yet, and you don’t need to. Most of the time, the things we end up loving the most are things that we had to discover. So don’t be like me during my freshman year. Get a backbone and try something new.