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How to get involved at school when there aren't many opportunities

Going to a school that lacks clubs you're interested in — or lacks clubs completely — is a bummer.  You could be missing out something really cool like theater, robotics club or creative writing club. But just because you school lacks clubs or extracurriculars doesn’t mean that you can’t get involved, have fun and bulk up your job apps or college apps with some extracurriculars.

See if you can start a club at your school
If your school doesn’t have any clubs, there might be some kind of policy in place where you wouldn’t be able to start your own. But if you go to a school that has a few clubs and none of them interest you, starting your own might be possible. Check with a teacher or school administrator to see what you’d have to do. If you know a teacher who's interested in the same area as you, they could be willing to help you out and act as a club advisor.

Start an unofficial club
If your school doesn’t allow clubs, you can still gather a group of friends and classmates who are interested in the same things as you and spend time together doing things related to your interest. The tricky part? You wouldn’t have funding or a meeting place. There might be space in your community that you could use. Clubs such as a book club, a foreign language club or a creative writing club could be done without money. For clubs that require funds, your group could start a fundraiser. You don’t need group T-shirts or fun trips to have a really great club, so don't let money discourage you.

Check out opportunities in your community
So you can’t find anything to get involved with at your school—but what about in your town or city? Search for organizations related to causes you care about and see if they have any volunteer opportunities. Even if they don’t have any opportunities listed on their site, you could call or email to ask. This applies to more than volunteering. Interested in theater? There might be some local theater groups that hold auditions. Interested in art? Research community art orgs and studios.

Ask to job shadow
Even involvements that aren’t consistent can give you an idea about what you’re passionate about and help you discover what you could do in the future. Reach out to some local companies that you’d be interested in working for and ask if you could shadow an employee—such as a teacher or a local journalist—for a day.

Start your own business
Some of your interests might be great business ideas. Love making jewelry? Maybe you could start an online store. Care about animals? You could start an event or shop that donates proceeds to a local shelter. Love storytelling? Start your own blog about something you’re passionate about.

Research remote opportunities
Nowadays, there are more and more opportunities to get involved from the comfort of your own home. From writing to raising awareness to being part of political organizations, there’s a lot of work that can be done online. When looking for online opportunities, be careful—you shouldn’t have to pay to get involved in something online. To be safe, it’s best if you work with an org or company that you’re already familiar with. You can also ask around and do some research to see if the opportunity seems real or too good to be true.

What groups or activities are you involved in? How did you get involved? Let us know in the comments.

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by Paige Sheffield | 11/8/2017
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