Youth Talk: Tough Choices

By Jonathan Tan, Grade 12 Student at Concordia International School Shanghai

Every year, the list grows longer and longer of co-curricular activities available for students. In a way, that is a good thing—there are more groups and opportunities available for us to express our passions outside of the classroom. On the other hand, the expanding list is overwhelming because a student’s time is so precious. With so much to choose from the challenge becomes to decide, among so many interesting options, which activities to commit to.

This year, I have devoted my time to three co-curricular activities. One is Student Council, which organises all sorts of social events like dances and prom as well as other school activities. As President, I gain a sense of satisfaction from working with an amazing group of people to successfully organise and implement these events.

Besides Student Council, I also help lead a student-run service group that participates in weekend volunteer trips to local schools and orphanages, organises fundraising campaigns and donation drives for charities, as well as host events such as our school’s 30-Hour Famine. With this group, I gain a different but equally satisfying sense of fulfilment from being able to give back to others outside the Concordia community.

Finally, I am involved with the Model United Nations (MUN) program. This year, I will organise the CISSMUN conference ( that hosts more than 300 delegates from 17 schools—it’s a really big responsibility. Participating in MUN, I have a chance to interact with students from across the world, and deepen an understanding of active global citizenship while making new friends.

Committing to these three activities throughout high school has challenged me and helped me to develop in different ways. So how did I make these tough choices? With time being so precious, I selected the activities that showed me just how precious my time can be. To say it differently, I participated where I could both bring something of valuable to a group, and where I also felt valued because of my participation. Choose well; your time matters!

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