How Extracurriculars Have Changed Throughout the Pandemic



Students from around the country gather on Zoom to celebrate their NSDA awards from their year of competing. Although COVID stopped in person gatherings, many associations such as the NSDA managed to keep things exciting and competitive.

Anvi Bhagavatula, Photojournalist

For years, extracurricular activities have been important in the process of getting into college. They can display anything from a person’s leadership abilities to their potential in art mediums like music, visual art, and writing. A lot of these activities have been hard to access in the past two years due to COVID-19, but now that accommodations are being made, different activities are back. Although it may be an overlap from before COVID, which ones are people doing the most?

Since a lot of people were unable to attend in-person classes, even over the summer, a surge of online classes began. Classes like edX and Coursera began offering even more classes for people who wanted to further their knowledge about their future college major and job. Organizations around the country, such as Techgirlz, began offering opportunities for high school students to lead Zoom classes in which younger students would join and learn. 

US News did an article recently explaining how different extracurriculars have been affected by COVID. For example, the NSDA, or National Speech and Debate Association, allowed for debaters around the country to partake in online tournaments, holding around 6000 people in their tournaments. Some people who participated in school plays also continued to rehearse, even during the worst months of COVID. Some high schools allowed for students to go over their lines on Zoom as well as send virtual audition tapes for different roles. Virtual auditions and filmings were also prominent in student-made movies and short films. Some of these plays and films met in very small group settings to see how they were doing in real life.

US News also explained how athletes were getting along during the peak of COVID cases. Many students’ chances at scholarships were harmed by the lack of playtime and practice time. The main way they maintained their abilities was by training by themselves or in small, safe groups with other players. Leia Fidel (10) who plays on the YLHS girls basketball team said, “playing basketball last year was hard since we couldn’t play any games, but I loved how my team did get to spend a lot of time together. It helped how we play now since we trust each other a lot.,”

Some extracurricular activities were prominent during the time period. For example, during the recent election, many students took that chance to make “get out and vote” campaigns an extracurricular activity. US News also explained that many seniors were advised not to take up new activities if they were looking to impress colleges. The perseverance through COVID with activities from before showed passion and drive to colleges.

Overall, extracurricular activities take a toll on students. On top of the struggles of school, as well as maintaining a social life, some students end up finding themselves with negatively affected mental health. While having an impressive resume through high school is important for colleges, what’s actually important is students making sure that they’re okay and that they’re not burnt out or over-stressed. COVID made all of this even worse by forcing students to stop the things they actually loved and essentially only focus on school and other academic things. Now that everything has opened up a little bit more, the most important thing is to have a balanced high school career, whether that be in sports, school, music, or mental health.