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When thinking about possible careers, it’s natural to first turn to your academic interests. After all, we tend to link jobs with education. However, the classroom is not the only place for career exploration! If you’re having trouble pinpointing your options, try taking a closer look at your extracurricular activities!

Enhance your academic interests

Perhaps you join the French club because you enjoy your French class. As a result, you have additional opportunities to interact with French culture – be it through eating French delicacies, watching French films, and so on. This can all serve to strengthen your language skills and cement your passion for all things related to France. In turn, it might spark a desire to become a translator or explore topics in international business.

Ignite new interests

Maybe on a whim, you decide to sign up for the debate team, awakening a latent love for current events and argument. Well, now you can use this personal discovery to brainstorm types of jobs that benefit from these talents. Take inspiration from these clubs, and turn into a career exploration!

Acquire valuable soft skills 

This will make you a more attractive candidate when it comes time to apply for jobs and internships. Since many activities take place within a group setting, you automatically experience a collaborative environment. Additionally, extracurriculars call for strong time management skills, so you will learn to balance your involvement with homework and family obligations.

Gain experience

Many extracurriculars offer presidential positions for students to take charge and run things themselves. By assuming a leadership role, you will have strong evidence of management skills. Another example: joining the school newspaper benefits aspiring writers as they collect writing samples to further their goals. Even assisting with events at the school provides substantial experience with organization and event planning! The world needs all sorts of different talents; you just need to identify the skills that you bring to the table.

Expand your network

You are likely to make new friends through the clubs you join. Further, your activities will put you in touch with possible mentors and established professionals. Here’s another example: let’s say, through your school’s community service club, you begin tutoring kids at a nearby shelter. That rewarding experience drives your growing interest in social work, homeless advocacy, urban planning, etc. Fortunately, you now have direct contact with the shelter employees, and you can ask about educational backgrounds and advice for moving into that field. Even better, you may be able to land part-time, entry-level openings to further your exploration.

By looking at your extracurriculars for career exploration, you will focus on activities that you actually enjoy doing! Choosing a career is all about pursuing your dreams and finding a suitable, fulfilling path; it should be an uplifting process. With that being said, finding your passion takes patience. Use this precious time to enjoy yourself and evaluate your likes and dislikes. You have your whole life to figure out what you want to do. These are merely a few starting points to get you thinking about your future.