Since September is rolling around, it is time for many of us to put down our Netflix and our bathing suits and once again start thinking about school. For most of us going into high school or secondary school, college/university applications are something that we are starting to think about. Out of all the different aspects of the process, including the essays, the standardized tests, and GPAs, extracurriculars are one of the most important as they give college admission officers a chance to see what kind of person you are outside of school and your grades and see what kind of an impact you made/will continue to make on the people around you.
Due to COVID-19, a lot of the clubs at schools and the regular extracurriculars that many of us have been planning to do are now unavailable to us. Since we are all stuck at home and are not able to go out and get jobs or volunteer among people, it can feel as if there is nothing that you can do during this time. In fact, as a rising 11th grader who will graduate in 2022, this was exactly how I felt. Extracurriculars have been a way for me to explore my interests outside of school, take a break from just doing schoolwork, and have an impact on the community and people in need around me. Therefore, when self-isolation due to the pandemic started, I felt as if I was wasting my time at home, unable to participate in all the events that I was looking forward to. However, after doing research and reaching out to other students that are feeling the same way, I have found many extracurricular activities for high school/secondary school students that can be done at the comfort and safety of your own home.
1. Remote Internships.
Although it seems as if our options are more limited now, in some ways it might be the opposite. Although many internships have been cancelled due to COVID-19, many businesses and companies are now offering remote (virtual) internships, opening up the possibility of getting internships in places that we could not before. Now, instead of only being able to get internships from your local region, you now have opportunities from the whole world. You can either email companies to ask for an internship or you can get them through websites such as the one linked below. Here are some links to help you find virtual internships:
2. Virtual volunteering.
Just like internships, while many volunteering opportunities are now being cancelled, if you really want to help out and have an impact on those less fortunate than you, many organizations are now offering virtual volunteering opportunities. With these virtual volunteer opportunities, if there is a cause that you really care about that wasn’t available for you to volunteer for around you, now you have the chance and the whole world at your fingertips to go online and search for volunteer opportunities for anything that you care about. Here are some links to start you off:
3. Virtual tutoring.
Tutoring is a great extracurricular that not only helps the student but it helps you, the tutor, know the concepts that you are teaching better as well. Tutoring students that do not have access to a good education or private tutors can also help you have a large impact on their lives. With COVID-19, while you may no longer be able to meet and tutor students in real life, you can always video call students you know, or sign up for an online tutoring service that tutors underprivileged students. Here are some links to help you start: 4. Start an online community about something you are passionate about.
This can be a blog, an website, an Instagram page, or any other type of online community where you can talk about something that you are passionate about.
5. Creative writing.
This can be anything that you want to write about: short stories, poems, or even a whole book or novel. Try to enter writing contests or get your writing published as well. You can do all this all online and over the computer, making it a perfect activity during these times.
Journalistic writing can include opinion pieces, news articles, etc. You can send your articles to local or even international newspapers/magazines/journals, such as the New York Times, and try to get your writing published. Or maybe volunteer right here at Teenagers With Experience, where you will not only get a chance to get your articles published but also to make many new friends. There are a lot of journals where you can get writing published as a high school student and I will link some of the websites here: 7. Virtual research opportunities
Especially for students interested in science and other STEM subjects, research opportunities with professors from universities can be extremely helpful in giving you experience and allowing you to explore your interests. I myself have also called and emailed professors in the universities near me and have gotten opportunities to help them out in their research. Since most real-life research opportunities are no longer available, you can email professors in universities near you or even professors from all around the world in order to see if there is anything you can do to help them. Before you email them, make sure to read what they are doing research on and read their published papers in order to see if your interests align with the professor’s work and to familiarize yourself with their work in order to show that you have taken the effort to read their work and know what you’re talking about.
8. Learn to code.
If you are interested in computer science and coding or that is something that you want to try, now is the perfect opportunity. Coding can be learned online through websites such as Coursera and EdX and you can even participate in coding competitions. Here are some links to help you get started:
It can seem like COVID-19 has ruined all of your plans for extracurriculars and it may seem as if there is nothing you can do right now. However, in contrast, it has opened up a lot of opportunities in some aspects since you are not limited to activities in your local area and instead now have access to opportunities from all around the world.
Have a great day!