Should I pick clubs and activities based off of what I enjoy or what career path I am aspiring to take?
Even though I'm a freshman, I'd like to make sure I'm starting off on the right foot. I am hoping to pursue a career in medicine at (hopefully) a fairly well-known university. I'm not sure what clubs/activities I should take... should I take ones I enjoy, or ones related to my future career path?
Here's a summary of my freshman year:
- Debate (national qualifiers in 2 events)
- Quizbowl (undefeated in JV [1st in League] and I was part of the Varsity team for the state competition)
- Choir: (qualified for states in Solo and Ensemble)
- GPA: 4.0 (unweighted)
- ACT: 23 (I know it's bad, but I took the ACT in 8th grade!)
I'm planning to join a few other clubs in the next few years (I will not be participating in all of them at the same time, I'll definitely drop some of them!)
- NHS (when I'm a junior/senior)
I am also interested in an internship in a lab or with a doctor. My family has a mutual friend who owns a lab, but I'm not sure when I should start requesting internships or even how to request an internship! Help!
It's good to have a balance. Colleges, especially strong ones, are looking for students who both demonstrate a strong passion and can excel in a wide variety of subjects. You'll be able to include 10 activities on your application, and you definitely shouldn't try to fill all of those spots with medicine-related ones, since that might come off as very one-note. Most students have a couple of substantial activities that relate to a passion or area of interest and then many others (big or small) that show their well-roundedness.
For medicine specifically, you definitely should look into lab research or internships, shadowing doctors in hospitals or clinics, and any other opportunities to work closely with people in that career path. That said, a lot of those opportunities will not be available to students under the age of 16, which I'm assuming you are currently based on your year. Further, it will be a lot easier to get these opportunities as a junior or senior than as a freshman or sophomore, because places will often prioritize older students. So you may need to wait a little while before applying for internships or requesting shadowing opportunities. In any case, this guide here is meant for college students, but its advice also applies to HS students as well: https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/shadowing-doctor/.
If you took the ACT in 8th grade, the score shouldn't show up in your high school records. If you're thinking of undertaking a science-related career path, the internship would be helpful. You also might want to start volunteering at hospitals (if that's somewhat related to what you're thinking of) and become more involved in your career path. As for the internship, you can send an email or ask in person to start observing, at the least, what goes on in the lab. I'm not intimately familiar with the lab's rules, so I'll mention this anyway: Some organizations have age limits. A few have the limit at 16, while others set the minimum for 18. It all depends. You might want to ask a bit earlier if there's a chance for you to start hanging around the lab and (again, at the least) assist.
I would hope you would enjoy activities related to your career path, but if that's not possible, you'll want to enter both clubs you enjoy and ones related to your career path. That way you can discuss things that you have passion for but still have a record of activities that can further your career path.
Sorry, I used 'career path' a lot in this answer. I hope this helps! Good luck!