Academic achievement is essential but we can’t forget about the critical role that extracurricular activities have in our development. These activities can be even more vital than academia sometimes and certainly down the line in life.
These are activities that students will take part in outside of the classroom setting and cover various activities from sports to clubs to volunteer work or part-time jobs. The school can offer some options or it can be purely independent.
So – what are the actual benefits of Extracurricular Activities?
It’s a way for us to have the opportunity to explore what else is out there. Often, academics aren’t as hands-on as it could be, and with an extracurricular activity, you can get that practical experience. This will lead you to learn new skills. For example, you can be part of the debate team and learn how to do effective research and take that research and craft proper arguments with it. Or you can join the school newspaper and learn about writing and editing articles and knowing the right topics that are eye-catching and should be written about.
It’s also a way you can sample activities and see what you like. It could be trying sports and seeing whether you enjoy spending your time there or you can volunteer locally and see if that drives your passion. Maybe you consider yourself lyrical and musical, which can be expressed and expanded upon with extracurricular activities. The goal is finding your niche and where your skills can flourish in.
Another key aspect is while academics help your intelligence go up, extracurricular activities can help your emotional and social intelligence go up. Typically, you have to learn to work with others and thus also learn how to communicate effectively, which is a key skill to have throughout life. It will also be an opportunity to run into obstacles and challenges that you will have to learn to work to overcome.
Finally, for those who are looking to enter college or take their initial steps toward their first job, extracurricular activities can help. It makes you a more competitive candidate for either option. This is because colleges and employers seek more than academics, and those who are well-rounded and involved in their communities are valued more.
How do you know what are the proper extracurricular activities to choose from?
Well, there is no proper extracurricular activity, only the one that you find something interesting to do. What skills are you looking to learn, or where do you find your passion for things? What are you looking to achieve in the end?
This will also take up your free time and resting period, meaning you want to choose activities you wish to do so that you stay motivated to keep doing them over time. Ensure you don’t overload yourself with too many activities, as that will lead to you doing too many things at once. You’ll then start to get stressed and feel exhausted with everything you need to do on top of your rigorous schoolwork.
Where to start when it comes to extracurricular activities
See what’s available at your school to start. Speak with your guidance counselor and see how you can get involved. They will tell you what may be a good fit that’s aligned with your overall interests and what you’re setting out to achieve.
There’s also the chance that you could attend extracurricular activities fairs. These are meant to showcase what the activities are about and give you a teaser of what dedicating your time to these activities will look like. You’ll be able to speak to those who run the clubs or organizations and see if there’s a good vibe you get from them on this extracurricular activity.
You can also see what your friends are doing and maybe consider their recommendations as well. After all, you already like spending time with them, so why not try it out in an extracurricular activity?
Friends can also let you know what it’s like to join certain activities, which will give you the information needed to make a proper decision about whether to go with the activity or not. Your social group is key in gauging what could work well for you.
In the end
Remember that extracurricular activities aren’t a requirement, and you’re free to pick and choose as you like. They are meant to give you a different experience than what is possible in the framework of your education. They are also meant to be not as stressful as your schoolwork and shouldn’t feel as if it’s a burden and something that you have to do.
They should be the right mix of fun, education, skill building, and emotional and social intelligence building. Do also keep in mind to not always consistently switch up your extracurricular activities either. You need to give them the time and dedication that they deserve to make sure that you can optimize what you learn and what is possible to achieve through these extracurricular activities.
It also won’t look good if you keep switching between extracurricular activities and put that on your college applications or mention it when applying for a job, as it will make you look unfocused and not dedicated to seeing something through. You want to pick the extracurricular activities and progress in them throughout the years, eventually reaching a certain seniority or even running the activities and clubs yourself.
For example, if you choose to play sports, you want to keep playing to become a team captain one day. Maybe you start with the school newspaper, and a couple of years later, you find yourself as the student editor-in-chief, fully responsible for getting the newspaper out in a professional and timely matter. This is what colleges and employees are looking for when it comes to your extracurricular activities, and that progression only comes when you find the right passion in them.