What Are They?
Extracurriculars are typically organized student activities that are in association with school, but do not apply to your academic credits. Most, if not all, secondary and post-secondary schools emphasize the importance of getting involved. It is easy to see why some students find it difficult to juggle extracurriculars on top of their school work. Sometimes time to yourself looks more appealing than dedicating time to a student organization, especially when you don’t know the benefits. However, by participating in extracurricular activities, it is understandable that it can become a lot to handle as a student, but I can speak from experience that it promotes time management skill and strengthens a student’s mind and body. Nevertheless, I know it can get overwhelming, but I enjoy thinking about it as opportunities that I stumble across, that will help me succeed in not just my academic endeavors, but in my future endeavors as well.
Do All Students Have Access To Extracurriculars?
Yes, there are many extracurricular activities that again most, if not all, students have access to. Employers might expect recent grads to have some work experience before entering the job market. These activities can help foster professional and essential skills in a different setting that a typical lecture or classroom may not be able to provide.
Benefits of Extracurricular Activities
You build a stronger mentality and mind: Although your academic ventures are still challenging, sitting through a three hour lecture and forcing yourself to finish 40 paged readings can only do so much in strengthening your mind. That becomes draining, exhausting, and more importantly— difficult to enjoy yourself. Participating in sports, for example, can train students and/or young adults overall about teamwork and resilience in the face of immense pressure.
A wider social circle: While you also develop essential soft and hard skills by participating in extracurriculars, these opportunities also provide a fun way to meet others who share the same interests as you. The more success and passion you put into that specified extracurricular activity, you’ll find yourself becoming more comfortable and confident in that skill. When you work hard and master something you enjoy with the support of others around you, you realize how much this sort of environment—fun, maybe sometimes even competitive, gives you a lot of motivation. Extracurriculars essentially alleviates any pressures you have on your shoulders academically and gives you a good outlet for escape during school and/or out of it.
Why Should All Students Participate (if they are able to)?
Put this into perspective, it will always be about intent at the end of the day. Do not force yourself to be a part of anything if you genuinely do not think you’ll enjoy it. I believe that extracurriculars, from my experience, have created bonds and helped me develop and gain many new skills. However, I did get too ambitious. I picked up too many things at once so I would have an excuse to put it on my resume. That’s how it started off, the clubs/organizations I joined made me realize I actually enjoyed doing those things. I learned that I liked being in leadership roles, and being in graphic design which is something I would not have known about myself if it weren’t for those extracurriculars.
When you participate in numerous, overwhelming amounts of these activities, even in high school, just for the sake of adding it to your university application/job applications— it only shows the admissions offices and employers that you have trouble with long-term commitments. It is better to have a shorter list of extracurriculars that show a longer-term commitment and progressive responsibility is much more valuable than a longer list of activities you’ve only dabbled in.
The lessons you’ll learn from participating in meaningful extracurricular activities will help you with everything from getting a job, to applying to universities overseas, to just living your life. Schools and workplaces no longer limit you, if you’re majoring in math but dabble in art, take an art class or join the art club. It is likely that you already participate in activities outside of school, so make sure to explore and examine the benefits of practicing your own passions.