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Finding Your Passion and Pursuing It
Muskaan Arshad
Harvard 2025

Going into freshman year, I had no idea what I liked to do. My parents took me to Kumon throughout my childhood, so math and other stem subjects were my whole life until then. When I got to high school, I wanted to switch it up. I didn’t know what I loved to do, but I did want to find out, so I decided to do EVERYTHING. Freshman year, I joined the Ukulele club, Thespian society, choir, Chamber orchestra, Model UN, and The Young Democrats. I basically tried everything under the sun. Honestly, that didn’t last long. One year of doing all these clubs made me realize that I didn’t have time to do a thousand things, and I didn’t want to do all of these activities. Although I didn’t want to continue all of this work, this experience was very beneficial to me and my future; it helped me realize what I loved to do.

I realized that I didn’t really love orchestra or the ukelele club, so I quit. I liked choir and model UN, but I didn’t want to put too much time into those activities, so I committed less of myself to those organizations. I found that I loved the community that fellow thespians created and I was really passionate about creating political change and furthering social justice initiatives. I continued to be deeply involved in theater and the Young Democrats and pursued it further throughout my high school career, later achieving a lot within those particular fields.

Generally, I advise people to follow a similar pattern. Use your freshman year of high school to try a plethora of activities and extracurriculars. It is during this time that all of your classes will be easier than they will be in the future; you have the extra time to explore many different avenues. Your natural intuition will lead you to activities you prefer, and maybe you will even find what you are truly passionate about. With this knowledge, you can discontinue the activities that you didn’t enjoy and work on activities that you liked to participate in.

Don’t worry about what that specific passion or interest is is. After getting accepted into college, I had many people coming up to me asking for advice on what activities they should pursue. One person even asked me if they should give up on their art because they believed it to be negatively perceived by college admissions officers.

This confusion about the college process is a massive detriment to the lives of many applicants. If you are interested in something and it is your passion, there should be no reason to give it up. Throughout the rest of your high school career, you can ensure you take that interest to the highest level that you can. Make an impact in your community, participate in competitions, create a project centered around your interest. The best thing you can do to set yourself up for an excellent high school career, happy life, and positive college admissions process is to find your interests and pursue them as best you can.