Ask An Intern: Extracurricular Activities

Author: Catherine O'Leary

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Q: What are some of the extracurriculars you did in high school?

A: My two primary extracurricular activities in high school were cross country and track, both of which I participated in for six years and served as a captain. I also founded my high school’s Outdoor Club, where I was the president for three years, and served as the president of my high school’s National Honor Society. 

If you are looking to get involved in more extracurriculars, I would suggest that you think about your passions and interests. This is important on so many levels. First, as you continue through your high school career, academics will become increasingly challenging. Ultimately, the purpose of extracurriculars is not to impress admissions committees, but to offer students a place to pursue interests apart from school, de-stress, socialize, and have fun. Also, don’t be concerned about being in every club and involved in every organization. Instead, choose a few things that you genuinely enjoy doing, and commit to participating fully in those groups. You will not only avoid overextending yourself and burning out, but you will also likely achieve more within these particular hobbies or skills. I founded an outdoor club at my school not to gain admission to Notre Dame, but because I loved the outdoors and wanted to encourage other students to take advantage of the beauty of our home state, South Carolina.


Q: How many different activities do you participate in on-campus?

A: To no one’s surprise, Notre Dame academics are often quite challenging; accordingly, my extracurricular involvement looks a little differently in college than it did in high school. However, I still am able to balance academics with being involved in some pretty awesome groups on campus.

I am lucky to be an admissions intern (easily the best job on campus) where I contribute to both the blog and social media teams. My second area of involvement is WVFI, Notre Dame’s own student radio. I am going on my fourth season of having my own radio show, and this year I have become a member of the board. Not only has WVFI given me a community to be a complete music nerd, but these are truly some of the most interesting, fun, and eclectic people on campus. Lastly, mentorship is something that has always meant a lot to me, as every small and large goal that I have achieved in my life would not have been possible without the help of peer and adult mentors. At Notre Dame, upperclassmen have been integral in my academic and career plans. As an upperclassman myself now, I have enjoyed helping underclassmen discern the same uncertainties through mentorship programs within both my own dorm and my scholarship program.


Q: How have your high school curriculum and activities prepared you for Notre Dame?

A: As previously stated, Notre Dame academics can be challenging. In general, my AP classes in high school (specifically the general science classes of chemistry, biology, physics, and calculus) have made these classes in college a bit more manageable as the some of the material is familiar. You’ll also be writing a lot at Notre Dame, so coming in with a strong composition background will certainly be beneficial. Ultimately, there is SO much available help in every subject, whether it be private tutoring at the Learning Resource Center, office hours with your professor, or the senior down the hall that’s taken the class before. As with Hogwarts, “help will always be given at Notre Dame to those who ask for it”.

As for my activities, while I don’t run cross country or track for Notre Dame, I have been able to continue running at school, and this allows me to decompress from the busyness of student life and continue to prioritize my health.