Groton isn’t one of the top boarding schools in the country for no reason. The Circle is a place for enrichment, a place for creativity, and a place for people to step out of their comfort zone. Every single one of the 371 kids on campus has one talent or another, and we are here to develop that talent, to reach our potential and be the best we can be (of course don’t forget to have fun along the way). One great way to help that is to create a requirement for new students to join at least two clubs in their first year.
The practice of mandatory participation in two clubs would force us as students to either enrich our already established abilities or try out new things we never thought we could do. Maybe someone who has never debated before would enjoy outwitting opponents on a weekly basis, or maybe someone with arachnophobia would be fascinated by the arthropod club, or maybe some of us who never concerned ourselves with politics would try out Young Republicans or Young Democrats. We all have the capability to do something great, but sometimes everyone needs that little push and that little extra effort to reach their full potential. This rule, should it be implemented, will be that little push, that trigger, that first spark of what will eventually mount to be our fulfilled selves, the “bonfire in our hearts,” continually kindled with new knowledge, if you will. Joining new clubs will enrich our personal experiences outside of the classroom (even if said club meets in a classroom). Whether that is playing a sport, tackling math problems, or singing your heart out on stage, a little extra practice accumulated over time isn’t going to hurt anybody.
We won’t be the only ones benefitting from the rule either; Groton’s club system is going to get a big boost should we implement this. Someone taking their first crack at any activity may in fact have been a diamond in the rough: what if you discovered that you were in fact a moving public speaker or a linguistics wizard? That club would instantly have added another valuable member to its already impressive group, multiply this over a multitude of clubs and Groton would have added dozens of talented scholars, artists and athletes to its ranks. That’s not all, if a student is required to join two clubs but none of the existing ones seem to fancy them, this rule would turn a shrug and an “Oh Well” into the creation of a whole new club. Maybe we would see Robotics Clubs or Sculpting Societies popping up all over campus. A great burst in variety and selection among the many clubs around the circle would result, giving students even more opportunities to try out something new, fresh and unknown.
Another great advantage of mandating club participation is the opportunity to integrate new students into the Groton community. As an incoming student, it can be intimidating to come to such a wonderful school with so many talented people. While it may be simple to bond with your fellow new students, befriending a returning student may be slightly more difficult (even with such a warm and welcoming community as Groton). What better way to make friends than meeting students with similar interests? Forcing people to join clubs would ease the transition into boarding school. After all, life is always better when you have friends.