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School clubs: the joys of sharing a passion!

I was an awkward kid, really good at school and with big dreams, and biggest problems. My class mates were normal teenagers who were living happy lives, first school crushes and whose biggest concern was the girl who was sporting the exact same pair of jeans, ruining their fashion moment.

I started my high school years losing my father to cancer and I felt like I was years older than them, basically I felt alone. In a crowd of popular kids, my luck was that I had applied in one of the few schools in Italy organizing school clubs and I was a theatre geek! That way I met a group of awkward kids who shared the same love for writing and acting with me, that way I met my best friend!  

The mere idea of pursuing an acting career is now long gone from my mind but I can surely testify on the benefits of having joined that club many years ago. For those hours, I was surrounded by people who had a passion in common with me and it did amazing things to the mind of a girl who felt incredibly alone.  

The Italian school system, unfortunately, doesn't leave much space to such activities. Our studying schedules are demanding and mostly pointed to learning many concepts in the most academical way, forgoing every activity which could actually teach from practice. I had a pretty lucky school life, considering that I attended a musical program in middle school and drama clubs in high school but it has always been really demanding, because all these activities have to be added to all academic lessons, always out of the normal school hours. After all these years, I really can't remember where I was finding the time to sit and study on top of it all!  

Television shows  like 'Glee' have showed to the rest of the world the importance of clubs in the lives of growing teenagers. A part from the latest years, when, in my opinion, after many seasons the show has lost a bit of its original educating charm, Glee has been a great way to showcast how much sports, arts and any other extracurricular activities can benefit young people. After all, learning history, maths, languages can't mean much if you don't develop a substantial social life.  

Joining a school club, first of all, can help a person work on a skill or passion, understanding in the long run if that is something they are willing and capable to work on or make a life of. Being in a group, then, teaches young people the fundamentals of team work which individual studying can never do and, obviously, can only develop one's social skills!  

School clubs can also be a great mean to fight bullying, giving "less popular" kids a group of friends ready to back them up and the safety of feeling important and capable in moments when bullies are trying to make them believe they are useless and weak.  

Have you ever joined a school club? Does your country's school system support such activities? Do you think they are important in students' lives to achive their future success?    



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