Despite the rising tide of course work and the increased demands of athletic coaches on the undergraduate's time and energy, outside activities maintain their particular appeal to the student who looks for something more than 16 C's and a pass in Freshman physical education out of his four years in college.
These extra-curricular activities fulfill the need of pursuing some special interest, of meeting classmates with similar interests, of getting experience in organizing and competing for executive positions, and of really getting to know Harvard and its students and teachers. There are many graduates (including President Roosevelt) who are authorities for the statement that they got more out of their activities at college than they did out of their courses. This is perhaps stretching a good point too far and might irk officials in University Hall, but it is certain that some activities provide experience and contacts that can be put to real use later.
So great is the variety of activities which Harvard presents that even a bare enumeration would be impossible within the space allotted. Suffice it to say that any student who wants can join some organization and no student should be unable to find one that arouses his enthusiasm.
There are, of course, the clubs connected with college work: French, German, Italian circles; economic, historical, and sociological societies; mountaineering, flying, rifle shooting clubs, social service; the political; musical groups--singing, instrumentals; religious clubs. Practically all these may be joined by anyone who can participate. Moving on to more specialized pursuits which require more time, we have the numerous athletic managerships. These demand much time and drudgery but the winners become part of their respective teams and enjoy the accompanying trips and prestige. Harvard has usually had a capable dramatic club and there are facilities for staging.
Also requiring considerable competitive work are the periodicals, represented by the CRIMSON, Advocate, and Lampoon; (hisitatingly arranged in order of preference). One might also mention the "social" clubs which for many constitute an absorbing interest. To members these represent excellent opportunities for making lasting friendships and associating with others having the same thing in common. To those on the outside the clubs may appear as mutual backslapping societies organized to protect the congenitally incompetent from their intellectual superiors. There are the kindred activities of house committees and class politics, engrossing but perhaps meaningless because of disuse.
It might be wise to suggest that before attempting the more arduous activities such as sport managerships or the periodicals, the student should make certain that his scholastic standing is secure. Otherwise a few misguided efforts on an examination may cause the whole castle to tumble.
The man who selects best from among the activities is the one who has picked a field where he will meet genial companions, will ultimately find the activity interesting, and where he will get a greater acquaintance with the College and with his classmates. Such an activity will fill him with a feeling of achievement as he peruses his Senior Album and secretly pities the man who can only list his address and the number of years he has spent in college.