Bring back the fun in clubs

To have fun—to joke, to goof around, to feel carefree, to explore, to do something for no other reason than that it might be entertaining or pleasurable. Of over 35 clubs at the Upper School, only a few are devoted purely to recreation rather than academics or service. Where has the fun gone? Surely not all students want to be in clubs just to boost their resumes. Surely some are looking for a relaxing outlet where they can enjoy a little leisure time in the company of others.

The Vanguard calls for more fun activities to remind students to unwind from the rigors of school. Classes can be overwhelming, and trying to succeed in them day in and day out can make it easy to lose the fun aspect of high school. We need some more low-key, stress-free clubs to help us decompress and step back from the craze of academics and expectations. Who wouldn’t enjoy spending an hour or an X block playing Bananagrams or throwing a frisbee around?

Every fall, Substance Abuse Prevention and Wellness Specialist William Slotnick comes to the school and advises us that adolescents need to make time to “eat, nap, and play.” It’s important to take time away from schoolwork, he says—time specifically for your personal interests.

The Vanguard supports Mr. Slotnick’s belief that play ought to be a priority in each day. For many students, sports used to meet this need, but as high school athletics have become more intense and, in some cases, pre-professional, the meaning of the word “play” has shifted away from one involving student enjoyment. Now we need something to be the new sports.

Last spring when spikeball nets peppered the courtyard, students played. When Student Council set up Capture the Flag, students played. When the librarians transformed the Reference Room into a hand-turkey station, students played. Each time opportunities for fun presented themselves, we students responded. Fun is a need we can all get behind.

But what if you just have too much work and feel you can’t make time for fun?

You might want to reconsider your approach. Taking a break from work actually seems to help you be more productive when you return to it. Henry David Thoreau used to take long walks to whet his creativity. And according to a 2008 survey from the Corporate Executive Board, which represents 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, people who feel they have good work-life balance work 21 percent harder than those who don’t. Leisure is the mind’s stimulant.

Students, the fun lies in your hands. What clubs have you been itching to start? What leisure activities do you want to do with friends during the school day? Carpe Diem—let us play.

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