Making the most of your lunch break
Lunch and recess breaks give you the time to enjoy some fresh air, have something to eat, and use the toilets. It's also a great time to socialise, browse in the library or take in some physical activity. Recess is usually mid-morning for approximately 15 to 30 minutes and lunch is generally a longer break and is usually after midday. The time and duration of these breaks might be different at your school, so check your timetable.
Some schools have games and equipment you can use during your recess and lunch breaks, such as handball courts, giant Sudoku and chess sets, so ask a teacher or your year level coordinator. However, if your school doesn't have anything available and you and your classmates are looking for something to do during the break time, perhaps talk to your school's Student Representative Council.
If you're considering bringing in your own games and equipment from home, check with a teacher. You don't want to risk expensive equipment getting lost or broken, and you don't want to break the school rules.
Each school has a different range of activities other than normal classes; these are known as extra-curricular activities. Joining a school team or club is a great way to try new things, learn new skills and meet new people.
Extra-curricular activities help provide you with a well-balanced and enjoyable school experience. You can gain or build friendships that you wouldn't have otherwise, and pursue activities that you're interested in with like-minded students.
Types of activities
Your school may offer many extra-curricular activities during or after school hours where you can get involved in clubs or teams in areas that interest you, such as sports, art, music (orchestras, brass bands, and other ensembles), debating, book club, chess, robotics, science and mathematics — different schools offer a range of options. You might even be able to join your school's Student Representative Council, community service group, or complete levels with nationally organised activities like the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award.
Finding something you are interested in
Consider what kind of person you are, what your strengths are, and what you're looking for in an extra-curricular activity. You may want to challenge yourself or join an activity that suits your personality.
You don't need to know everything there is to know, or be a fantastic athlete - its all about participating and having a go. You can try a new sport like tennis, athletics, volleyball, cricket or rugby. Or a new activity like the choir, musical, school newspaper, drama, photography, debating, band, or computer club.
How to get involved
At the start each term, teachers will often have a list of activities or teams you can join. So check out your school's bulletin or notice board, or daily announcements for advice. Feel free to ask someone who is already involved, or a teacher running the activity, what it's like.
You'll need to consider each activity to make sure its a good fit for you. Think about:
- age groups - sometimes age restrictions might apply
- any costs - there may be some additional cost for a uniform, costume, musical instrument, sporting equipment or travel and accommodation. You might also need to raise money to help support the activity
- your ability - you may need to try out before you can join a team
- time investment - the activity may be held once a week but require more over time, such as interschool/state sport championships, a musical performance, competing in finals, or performing at different events
- any travel involved - your activity may be held at school or you may need to travel on occasion. Find out how often you'll need to travel and how you will get there.
Don't forget to talk to your parents and carers about your choices, to make sure your activities will fit in with other family commitments.
Avoiding over commitment
It's easy to get involved in too many exciting activities. Before you commit to any of them, try and find out as much information and then sit down and map out your school schedule, including your homework time, study time and extra-curricular activities. You want your schedule to be balanced, so think about whether you'll have enough time for your school work, friends, activities, sleep and relaxation.
If you've joined an activity and you feel stressed out, reconsider your commitment. Talk with your coach or teacher and be polite when you explain your situation and feelings. Sometimes its not the right time for you to be joining another activity and the most mature thing and responsible thing you can say is, "Sorry, but I can't be involved this time".
Statewide extra-curricular activities
There are a range of statewide activities listed below that your school may be involved in. These activities include reading, community service, sports, music, dance, and art.
Premier's Reading Challenge
The Premier's Reading Challenge is an annual statewide event for students from Prep to Year 7 in state, Catholic and independent schools, as well as home-educated students. Individual students, individual classes or whole schools can enter. The reading challenge usually starts in late May and goes until early September, with the celebration weeks held in early to mid-November each year.
The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award
The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award is an internationally-recognised development program for young people aged 14 to 25. The Award is all about challenge, adventure and achievement and introduces you to a range of opportunities to help you gain new skills, have new experiences and make a difference to your community. You can choose from three levels of the Award to work towards (Bronze, Silver or Gold), and you design a program around things that interest you most in the areas of physical recreation, skill, service, adventurous journey. For Gold participants there is also a residential project.
The Bridge Award
The Bridge Award is a Queensland development program for young people aged 11-and-a-half to 25. It introduces you to exciting activities that help you to develop and build on skills, interests and positive involvement in your community. Like The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, you need to complete four sections for each award level — physical recreation, skill, service and adventurous journey.
Both The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award and Bridge Awards are delivered by groups or organisations approved by the Queensland Government. Groups may include schools, service clubs, statewide youth organisations, sporting clubs, youth justice services, commercial ventures, disability services, universities and TAFEs and community cultural centres.
As a member of the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament program you'll learn about government, politics and the political process and find out how you can have a say on issues affecting young people. The program is apolitical, which means political views don't play any part in the way it is run. You must be aged 15 to 25 to apply. You don't need to know about parliament as you will be taught everything you need to know.
The Youth Parliament runs every year from April to October. One place is offered for each of the 89 electorates across the state and four additional places are available for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.
Creative Generation — State Schools Onstage is held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Bank each year. More than 1800 talented dancers, singers and musicians from Queensland state schools come together to stage one of the state's largest performing arts events. The event aims to mentor and foster the next generation of performers and provides opportunities for them to learn from professional artists. This annual entertainment event has launched the professional careers of many students who have gone on to star in theatre, television and musical productions.
Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Instrumental Music (MOST)
The Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Instrumental Music (MOST) is the residential extension program for up to 77 musically outstanding students from Queensland state secondary schools. The program extends musically gifted and talented students in a 10-day program of extensive musical development in large and small ensembles, tutorial groups, aural musicianship and a range of music and cultural activities. Conductors and tutors are eminent musicians who are recognised as leaders in their respective fields.
Interschool sport provides students with the opportunity to participate in structured sport competitions between schools. It's a great way to stay fit and healthy and enhance your sporting skills. Queensland School Sport provides and develops sporting programs for 21 sports within state and non-state schools around the state.
Go back to Starting high school - what you need to know