17 IMPORTANCE OF EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN COLLEGE
The importance of extracurricular activities in schools is something that is often overlooked by many college students.
Sometimes, the actual meaning of engaging in these activities is usually misinterpreted.
You might have also seen partaking in extracurricular activities while in college as a complete waste of time and you probably prefer staying away from anything that does not involve studying.
Getting involved in extracurricular activities means joining a team with your interests or participating in an activity other than learning in class.
These activities may include swimming, chess class, tailoring, running, baking, music class, yoga team and other sporting activity.
I’m sure you want to have one or a combination of these events:
- You want to receive the VC handshake on your convocation day (academic goals achievers)
- You want to volunteer with organizations. (Career people)
- You want to become ambassadors on campus (Influencers)
- Maybe you want to lead people in your department, faculties and the student union (the politicians).
- You want to attend business events, save lives, and run projects and still have good results in our academics (all-rounders)
However, you don’t know how to BALANCE these things together and you have the FEAR that your academics might suffer because of these extra activities.
As a student, your main priority while in college is to gain knowledge and wade off unnecessary distractions, however, meaningful extracurricular activities could also be beneficial.
There are lots of benefits associated with these activities which may come in handy in the future. Let’s take a look at the importance of engaging in extracurricular activities while still in college.
1. Acquisition of useful skills
There’s no doubt that classroom education is good for you as you need knowledge and certificate to secure a firm foundation for the future.
However, knowledge and certificate are not all you need. Skills like patience, time management, leadership, good interaction with others, goal-setting, problem-solving, analytical thinking and teamwork are needed after a college education.
These skills are not something you can learn overnight; they are learnt in the process of experiencing situations in life.
You need these skills to deal with difficult problems you may encounter in your work or family. Joining any extracurricular activity while in college can help you build these skills.
Students who join social groups in school are likely to possess important skills needed for the future.
Some end up very extroverted while introverts also learn important skills like giving attention to details and converting challenges to opportunities without raising dust.
2. Increase in Self-esteem
A boost in your self-confidence is very important for future success.
After college, you must get prepared to face real-life situations. Healthy self-esteem is one of the things that will help you deal with anxiety and depression in college. You will need more doses of that when you get out.
Participation in other relevant activities apart from your schoolwork will help you to boost your self-confidence and also give you the opportunity to embrace new challenges or risks.
As a student, working hard to engage in and making progress in other aspects give you the growth mindset that you will be capable of any task you face in the future.
If you decide to only limit yourself in school (without some seldom extras), you might not be able to build your confidence level.
Most times, communication skills and self-confidence are built in the course of participating in a social club or gathering.
3. Resume enhancement
Every organization do not just need your certificate for employment but proof that you can bring something to the table.
They also require your skill and what you have to offer. That’s why you might be asked what extracurricular activity you engaged in while in school.
As a fresh graduate, you are with no past work experience and one of the ways to determine your capabilities is to question you about your extra-curricular activities.
Without this, an employee might regard you as unsuitable or make the interview inconclusive. Extra-curricular activities tell a lot about you and give your employee a bit of knowledge about how you can effectively manage your work.
Your ability to balance schoolwork and other aspects of your life proves this.
If you have taken up a language class as an extra activity, when you start job hunting, it will set you apart from the rest of job seekers.
Why? Because you will know how to do your job & also interact freely with people of different cultures.
4. Helps you to explore a new passion
Sometimes, you just don’t know what you are capable of until you try it.
You have a lot of hidden talents and passion that are screaming to be noticed. These talents will never be discovered if you do not take the initiative to discover them.
The best way to discover them is to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Engaging in these activities opens a door to diverse interests and broadens your life experiences thereby making you unique from the rest.
For instance, joining a writing club as a science student will open up your perspectives on different areas of life.
You will probably know things that are not science-related.
5. Multitasking abilities
The fear of multitasking is one reason you may be sceptical about joining any other activity apart from your normal school routines.
No doubts, multitasking requires a lot of determination and strong will.
You have the fear that your extra activity may dampen your motivation & reasons to have a good GPA.
However, do you know that some bright students actually combined academics with class rep positions, political positions or other leadership positions and still finished their studies with flying colours?
As a matter of fact, I was in a love relationship from my first to my final year and still graduated as the best student in my department.
If you can successfully excel in both academics and any other aspect of life, there is hardly anything you won’t be able to handle or face later in life.
Give your all to your studies for knowledge and if you can, add at least one extra-curricular activity to your routine to improve your ability to be multifunctional.
Have you ever wondered how that classmate of yours manages to get high grades while still doing very well in the music club?
It is simply because his choice of both worlds has taught him perseverance, taking responsibility for a mistake, time management, endurance, and a lot more skills that are needed to succeed in life.
6. Social opportunities
Are you someone who finds it extremely difficult to make friends and expand your social circle?
Joining a group in college can help get rid of your weaknesses and improve your interaction with people.
Apart from helping you become sociable, these activities can also create opportunities that may be needed in your workplace after studying.
If you join a debate club, for example, it will help you to build your public speaking skill and also create a foundation that can be very useful in convincing clients in the nearest future.
It creates an opportunity to interact with people in the social group. These people may give you the recommendation you need for a job or the job itself because you may meet someone with readily available connections.
These friends can also be useful when you are in a situation.
7. Essential Life Skills
As the saying goes, life is one big battlefield.
Everyone involved in these battles must possess a life skill or two to keep them going in life.
You surely need these skills to overcome some hurdles on your path to success. One of the ways to learn these skills is to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Communication skills, ability to interpret body language, resilience, focus, setting realistic resolutions, creativity, negotiation skill, self-confidence, and problem-solving skills should never be overlooked.
Joining any activity in school is a way to get the foundation of these skills.
When you join an extracurricular activity, you get to increase your communication and interpretation skill.
You may also face a problem while performing a task in this group which brings out the creativity to build your decision-making skills.
8. Earning Career Experience
After graduating from college, getting a job might come easy for you but keeping that job may be hard if you lack certain skills.
To be able to keep your job, you need experience, work skills and interpersonal skills. You also need to be mentally strong and fearless and these qualities can be developed when you engage in extra-curricular activities while in college.
When you participate in any social activity in school, you learn flexibility and adaptation from interacting with people. This will be useful when you start working in a new environment.
Apart from flexibility, being able to work with others in a social club will help you understand teamwork.
9. University Application
Most universities in the UK and US consider participating in extracurricular activities while in high school a criterion to gain admission into their institution. They deem it a must.
Asides knowing how to study every day, they do not want to limit you to your course of study. These universities want you to explore.
Even if you are still sceptical about joining social clubs in school, at least, join a time-saving one for the sake of gaining admission into a tertiary institution.
Some scholarships want to know what you have offered humanity and the best way to do this is to take part in social programs. Your volunteering experience can be used for that.
10. Reduces Stress Level
School can be stressful, no doubts. It is advisable to always take a break to reduce stress.
Do you also know that joining a social activity can help reduce the pressure of schoolwork and still help boost your academic performance?
Take swimming as an example. If you take it as an extracurricular activity you engage in, it can help reduce stress, build endurance and keep your heart rate up.
This will help you build powerful study habits and overall health.
11. Develop Self Awareness
During the course of participating in an activity, you realize that you understand yourself more and become conscious of your whole being.
This self-awareness that you develop does not come on its own but it is as a result of meeting people, communicating with them, finding out their interest and weighing it with yours, therefore, making amends to your being.
All these little actions you make has a very huge impact on your life as a whole.
12. Fun-filled and widens your perspective
Meeting people and discussing things you share as a common interest can be exciting.
When you participate in any extra-curricular activity, you realize that you are making the most of your school experience. You also realize that the school itself is fun and should be enjoyed.
As a fun type of person, joining a club is like killing multiple birds with just a stone. Not only will you experience the best time of your life, but you’ll also gain other skills.
Joining a Facebook group for students such as E.S.S comes with a lot of fun.
13. Better Understanding of The World
When you participate in extra-curricular activities, you understand life and tend to make the most out of it. You begin to know your strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
In a student organization, you will meet people with different background and culture thereby enlarging your knowledge.
It helps a lot when you find yourself in a new environment where things look foreign to you. With your experience in this student organization, you will understand how to adapt to the environment.
You’ll begin to understand people and the reasons for their actions. You will also know just how to tolerate their differences and be emotionally intelligent.
14. Helps Maintain A Good Health
Sporting extracurricular activities are a great way to keep your body in good shape. Extracurricular activities like running, basketball club, soccer, yoga, swimming, tennis club and lots more are healthy.
Aside from concentrating on schoolwork, you can keep fit. These activities help to build and tone your muscles while reducing your risks of future health problems.
Extra-curricular activities are just amazing! They will not only provide you with tons of necessary skills but also maintain your health with the surprising benefits of exercise.
15. Great Leadership Skills
Being great at what you do in school can earn you a leadership role.
This experience will help you to act wisely when you get a leadership position in your job.
Your past student experiences can help you to learn people management and make you become an effective leader in the workplace.
16. Platform to practice your soft skills
You can apply the knowledge you’re learning in school by participating in a club.
As a biochemist, you could spread the word about diabetes and how to avoid it to vulnerable people and contribute to the elderly needs and wants in our society.
Use that platform to apply the theory in your head to the world.
17. Access to networks, global events and platforms
Yes, you have been able to raise your GPA in one semester but social responsibilities can give it more wings to fly.
It gives you the opportunity to attend events, meet people and learn other stuff that cannot be learned in the four walls of the classroom.
How to balance your academics and social/extracurricular activities
1. Manage your time
You will need to make a decision to reduce activities like the time you use in visiting people, watching movies and so on. Convert that time to the time for attending events, volunteering and studying.
2. Form a reading group/team
Social responsibilities and extracurricular activities will take your time in school.
Imagine planning a big event in school during test periods. You will be very busy.
So, you need to find leverage you can use to level up and building a reading team will help. You cannot underestimate the importance of planning.
3. Prepare ahead of the class and do more
If you want to be a volunteer while in school, know that you are now a different student. Take your time to read ahead of the class, so you can easily understand what your lecturers teach.
It is also better for you to plan your semester well before you resume so that everything will be well balanced.
4. Have a purpose
Social responsibilities simply mean an act of giving back to your society.
You need to know why you want to volunteer or take part in social responsibilities before embarking on it.
Don’t just join a cause that will affect you negatively in life.
5. Know thyself
Don’t take part in activities because your friends are doing them. You are different.
Have your own reasons. Your friends might have the abilities to combine other things with academics while you don’t. So be yourself.
6. Don’t be everywhere
Choose what you want to do based on your capabilities.
Don’t join everything. You will wear out and it can affect your academics.
Just pick activities that are in line with your life goals.
7. Know the appropriate time
Someone started volunteering in his final year and it was a very nice time for him because his CGPA was so gallant.
He was so sure he wouldn’t fall below that range. If you know that you can cope well from your second or third year and still succeed in your competitive exams, you can give it a try.
8. Develop yourself
Don’t just volunteer, learn. Read books, listen to tapes, engage with people in your field, plan personal projects and think out of the box.
Most people who make great changes after school started something while in school which gave them a platform to learn.
9. Don’t do this when having issues
Face your academics squarely if you are still struggling with some courses.
However, if you have good academic standing, there are many opportunities to volunteer and do social impacts in or after school.
Please don’t joke with your academics.
In conclusion, the Bible says, “if a man wants to build a house, he will first count the cost”.
You know your capabilities better than anyone and if you want to build a good life for yourself, you need to personally assess what price you can pay.
Every great man paid a price. If you want to have great results academically and impactful extra activities, you will know that your price for success is more than someone who just wants to have a certificate.
Now that you have known the benefits associated with joining extracurricular activities, it is only right that you prepare yourself for the awesome journey that awaits you after your involvement.
Throw away the doubts you may have and participate in any activity that suits you.
Feel free to drop your comments or other tips.