Getting involved in extracurriculars is a great way to explore your interests, give back to the community or “skill up”. These activities can also break up the study and look great on applications for scholarships or jobs. Here are some ideas which you might not have thought about!

1. Youth-run organisations

There are a bunch of amazing youth-run organisations which empower young people to lead change on issues that matter to them. These groups are run by and for young people just like you! Some great ones to check out include:

  • SYN – a youth media organisation which teaches students how to produce media content which matters to them (AKA you can make your own radio show!)
  • AYCC – Australia’s largest youth-led organisation which fights for climate action.
  • UN Youth – a youth-run organisation which is great for students who want to improve their public speaking (who doesn’t!) or learn more about diplomacy.

2. Volunteering

Do a simple “high school student volunteering [insert city/town name]” search in Google and I promise you won’t be disappointed. You can help out at a one-off event, like a fun run, or commit to longer-term volunteering, for example at an op shop. Believe me, you’ll learn some incredible skills, meet interesting people and contribute to your community.

3. Online courses

Ever heard of a MOOC? MOOCs, otherwise known as Massive Open Online Courses, are free online courses run by some of the world’s top universities. From coding to anthropology, writing a book to leadership, there is definitely a course for you. MOOCs can also be a great way to suss out what uni degree or career path you might want to pursue. I’d recommend checking out edX and Coursera which have a huge range of courses for all levels.

4. Enter a competition

There are competitions for high-school students in every subject you can imagine, from neuroscience to building a solar car. Some of these require your school to sign up but many allow you to just get involved on your own. Have a browse here to see if anything piques your interest. Also keep an eye out for any community-based competitions around your local area, for example, a sustainability contest.

5. Start something on your own

If there’s a topic you’re passionate about at school (or life), why not start something yourself? For example, if you’re interested in robotics, why not start a robotics club at your school and build a robot with some of your friends? Or maybe you’ve got a great business idea (self-walking dog leash anyone?). Why not do a free entrepreneurship workshop and try to get your idea off the ground? Check out Generation Entrepreneur which runs some awesome programs.

6. Community groups

Look at the noticeboard at your local shops to see if there are any local community groups which interest you. There might be a dog-walking crew, a bush re-vegetation group or even a chilled social sports team. This one can be hit or miss but if you don’t find what you’re looking for…see dot point 5!

This month, challenge yourself and get involved in an activity that interests you outside of study. You never know where it might take you!