Lessons from Mr. Involved


Benjamin Hannani, Spotlight Editor
After starting and leading clubs, participating in student government, playing sports and writing for the school newspaper, I know a thing or two about how to get involved. When I first stepped into the hallowed halls of Beverly 4 years ago, though, I was just as dazed and confused as the next freshman.  I wondered how I could explore the numerous opportunities available to students like me. Soon enough, I became a member of multiple organizations and made many new friends along the way.
At the beginning of the year, I took advantage of Club Day to learn about all the clubs on campus. In spite of the school’s diverse population, there are clubs for nearly every (school-appropriate) interest possible. Share your contact information with the returning club members attend the first meeting, and then judge whether or not you want to join full-time. If you have a particular interest that is not addressed by an existing club, feel free to create your own. And if you somehow cannot find a club that excites you, you can start your own. Personally, I had an idea of creating a club in which professionals could talk to students about their careers. I am particularly interested in sports and entertainment, so as a sophomore I created the Sports & Entertainment Forum club. The Forum’s past guest speakers include ESPN First Take’s Stephen A. Smith and Modern Family co-creator Christopher Lloyd.
When I was a freshman, I joined the literary magazine staff because I enjoy writing. After a few meetings, I realized that the literary magazine was not what I had envisioned but, by testing it, I got a better sense of my passion: journalism. Subsequently, I joined the newspaper staff. By contrast, I hesitantly signed up for the Model United Nations club without any concrete idea of how it operated. I would later learn its purpose, attend conferences and become an active member.
There are also plenty of ways to get involved outside of clubs. To all performers and athletes, I highly recommend auditioning for the performing arts and trying out for a sport, respectively. Until my sophomore year, I did not play in any school sports. I decided to try out for the volleyball team since I would be up against less competition than other, more popular teams. Fortunately, I earned a spot on the junior varsity team and was chosen to be the team captain as a junior. Although I had never played a game of volleyball, I managed to become an athlete by showing up to tryouts and presenting a solid effort. Freshmen may be happy to hear that certain sports teams, like football and cross country, accept all freshmen.  Other sports teams, such as boys’ volleyball and girls’ lacrosse, are also particularly welcoming of athletes who have never played the sport before.
They key to being involved is being informed. In order to be informed, read the bulletin. The school bulletin, emailed throughout the week, contains club meeting dates and times, lists school events and notes dates of sports tryouts.
Above all, do not join organizations as simply for the sake of being involved. Rather, utilize the abundant resources available to you and follow through with what you enjoy. At the end of the day, you will be a happier student and enlightened person. From my athletic experiences in cross country and volleyball, I honed my work ethic, challenged myself to a new sport and stayed in shape. My tenure in Model United Nations has fed my passion for debate, piqued my interest in government and influenced me to major in Political Science during college. My leadership roles in SBAC and “Highlights” have helped me improve my time management skills, collaborate effectively with my peers and make a direct contribution to the school.
Getting involved to boost a resume for colleges is not beneficial. Instead, only pursue what interests you. I have joined organizations because I have a personal interest in them, not for the sole hope of impressing admissions officers. In every case, I grew personally from my involvement. I have made new friends, further connected with teachers and staff, and strengthened existing friendships because of my school involvement.  All too often, we make the mistake of distinguished “involved” students from “average” or “uninvolved” students. Now is the perfect time to make the most of our opportunities and become one, united body of “involved” students with our own, unique affiliations.