2019 Elle Arvesen mug


Currently, I’m sitting at my computer at 9:04 p.m. after tearing my hair out for three hours over a seemingly impossible math assignment that I still don’t understand, trying to make sense of where all the time I thought I had went. I still have more homework to complete, which will probably keep me up until 11 tonight, and then I have to get up at 6 a.m. tomorrow to do it all again. Welcome to the glamorous life of the average American teen.

Even though you may be able to detect a hint of sarcasm in my last sentence (only a hint), I’m very thankful that I no longer have to do all this and stare at a computer screen all day. Instead, I can go to school and see my friends, which has been a big factor in improving my mental health — and from what I can tell, also the mental health of the students I’ve talked to on the subject.

When I first began my junior year in high school, which is supposed to be the most difficult year, I remember thinking that my homework load was medium-sized, manageable during the first two weeks. Now, more than 30 days later, I laugh at my naïve, younger and less-educated self. The only things that have been keeping me sane are my friends, my parents and the many clubs that I'm a part of.

I now realize how much I've missed being in clubs when I was living in the land of Zoom. That’s why I signed up for not one, not two, not three, not four but FIVE clubs. And I’m proud to announce that I have also created my own.

So, why are clubs so important? Well, here are some reasons why I think they are:

1. They help you meet new people and form new relationships. One out of the four clubs that I decided to join was the Media Club. At the club’s first meeting, I walked in with my friend, sat down and looked at the people around me. I think I only knew two people there, which is surprising since Santa Ynez is a small high school. I had fun talking about movies with them (I like movies) and got to know some of them a little more, which was also fun. If you’re looking to form new connections, join a club. When I was a little, baby freshman, I joined the Theatre Club, and now I get to be surrounded by some of my favorite people in rehearsal every day. I made lasting friendships that I know will stay with me for the rest of my life.

2. They help you explore what you're passionate about. Like to bake? Join the Cooking Club. Like to build things? Join the Robotics Club. Like to argue? Join the Debate Team. I know that after I joined the Theatre Club, my passion for acting only grew, and now I’m considering it as a possible future career path. I think it's important to make time for the things you love. I know it can be hard, especially with the workload that teenagers have nowadays, but joining a club is the perfect excuse to take a break from doing homework.

3. It looks good on college applications. At this point, I think it’s a known fact that colleges want to see more than good grades on your transcripts. They want to see a student who got out there and participated in things they loved to do. They want to see someone well-rounded, not just focused on being that straight-A student.

If I haven’t already convinced you, someone else is going to have to, because I have more homework to do. But if I have, then the hour it took to type this up was not in vain. But on a more serious note, just try looking into some clubs at your school. You never know, you could discover your future career path by trying something that you’ve never done before, or you could further your passions by exploring things you love to do. Either way, it’s a win-win. 

Elle Arvesen is a local high schooler, and SYV News Teen Life columnist.