Developing and Maintaining Your Extracurriculars During a Pandemic

By Kevin Kwok

(Admissions Consultant)

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a common question we’re getting from families is how to stay involved in extracurricular activities. This is undoubtedly a tough prospect with schools closed and many student club activities suspended, but that doesn’t mean you have to write off all this time!

The Power of the Team

For certain student clubs, like chess or even debate, moving your activities online may be relatively seamless. This is not the case for sports teams, but there are steps that you and your teammates can take to stay fit, know your sport better, and maintain team chemistry.

Fitness — Practices may be cancelled for the foreseeable future, and that sucks. But that doesn’t mean that you and your team shouldn’t interact with each other! Be the voice of encouragement in your team and see how many teammates you can commit to weekly Zoom exercise sessions. Make it fun – play loud music and wear silly clothes (that won’t cause injury while exercising). Whatever it takes to make this a highlight and not a chore.

Knowing your sport — In lieu of kicking a ball or perfecting our backstroke, the pandemic also presents us with an opportunity to consider how our athletic pursuits can factor into our career. If you have an interest in finance and business, the current downtime could be used to explore concepts like the salary cap, commercial sponsorships, and collective bargaining agreements in professional sports leagues. If you have an interest in nutrition, this downtime can be used to determine how your team can eat better and thus perform better.

Even without these additional interests, the “new normal” of the pandemic shouldn’t prevent us from getting better at our sport. Go back and watch some classic matches or games of your chosen sport. Why did one team, or player, win? Why did the other team or player lose? What tactics were used? Absorbing best practices such as these could help you and your team get to the next level.

Chemistry — To fight the pandemic, social distancing has become the name of the game. This keeps us safe, but the corresponding sacrifice is less time spent in the company of others. If left unchecked, this could turn a close-knit team into a band of strangers, and we don’t want that. Away from those Zoom fitness sessions, be proactive and organize team-bonding activities. Sure, you may not be able to joke around with your teammates at soccer practice, but at least you’ll have bragging rights after obliterating everyone in your team’s EPL fantasy league, or after claiming first prize in the team’s FIFA 21 tournament.

Your Power as a Volunteer

The pandemic has been especially challenging for society’s most vulnerable members. If you and your family are comfortable with the risks of venturing outside, you may give back to your community by stepping in to help those who led difficult lives before COVID-19 and who really need the extra help now. Charities involved with the three items below could be a good starting point, but this is by no means the final word and you should consider your own strengths and interests to determine how you may perform your community service:

Food initiatives — At the most basic level, the economic repercussions of the pandemic have left many in doubt about where their next meal is coming from. This is all the more reason to support the heroic charities in Hong Kong who run food banks, organize food drives, and combat food waste by diverting food from landfills to those who need it most. Chances are your school may have already worked with some of these charities and other organizations in the past – get in touch with school staff to doublecheck!

The homeless — Hong Kong already had a serious housing problem before the pandemic; imagine how things are now with jobs being cut and rent payments being missed. Rather than subject the city’s homeless to ignominy and harassment, the pandemic downtime could be a chance for all of us to have the back of the homeless population and to keep them safe, dry, and HEALTHY – one less potential superspreader means one small step on the path back to normalcy.

Aid for Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities — For those of us who speak one of the many languages of Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities, this could be a unique opportunity to practice taking on added responsibilities in life. As seen with the recent lockdown of the Yau Tsim Mong area, the city’s best intentions can sometimes go awry as canned luncheon meats make their way into the hands of halal-observant families. At the heart of all this though are good intentions and well-meaning initiatives, and people like you could be the conduit between those who can provide the help and those who need it.

The Power of the Internet

While not strictly specific to the pandemic, certain personal interests can be effectively developed in an online community if you don’t find real-life counterparts to share them with. This is especially true for interests that may be dismissed by others as trivial, un-intellectual, or otherwise a waste of time. So what if others are snooty about your anime obsession, or mock your passion for beauty and wellness? Forget about those folks and hit the Internet for forums, subreddits, or other active online communities for these exact personal interests. With time, these passions can be developed into a pathway where you can demonstrate your capacity to take on additional responsibilities and/or leadership – a forum moderator, a volunteer anime subtitler, a social media influencer

The above are all great ideas to stay on top of your extracurricular activities while COVID-19 rumbles on, but to get the most out of your situation, it never hurts to get that extra bit of personalized advice! Through The Edge’s admissions consulting services, let us put you at ease with a tailored timeline and action plan for how to get the most out of your passions.


About The Edge

The Edge Learning Center is Hong Kong’s premier Test Preparation, Academic Tutoring, and Admissions Consulting services provider. Founded in 2008, The Edge has helped thousands of students improve their ACT and SAT scores as well as their IB and AP grades. The AC team has just finished off another successful period in which students gained acceptance to schools such as MIT, UChicago, Columbia, and more! Check out the rest of our 2019 Admissions Results!

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