Some of you have probably heard the term “extracurricular activities” thrown around, especially in high school. If you’ve never participated in one, or don’t think that you have, you might be thinking, “Well, what exactly are they?” Simply put, extracurricular activities are activities you do outside of your regular school day.
There are a lot of extracurricular activities to choose from to make your afternoons and weekends more enjoyable. Some popular categories include sports, community service, employment, arts, hobbies, or academic activities. Although playing basketball with your friends is a fun activity you do after school and on the weekends, it isn’t considered extracurricular. Extracurricular activities are normally ones you sign up for and require time commitment and passion.
Let’s dive into some important reasons why people, especially students, participate in extracurricular activities:
Improved academic performance
Some students worry that participating in extracurricular activities might take away from their academics, but this is the contrary. It actually improves your grades and outlook on school and ignites your passion as you broaden your horizons.
Extracurricular activities are a perfect way to explore your interests. Interests, especially in areas of community service and employment, can aid in realizing your dream job and also help you once you begin your career. If you love helping your parents cook or trying out a new recipe, try your hand in Culinary Arts.
Working hard in an activity you are passionate about increases your motivation and self-confidence. For example, your teacher, knowing you are really good at science, asks you to take part in STEM competitions. Whilst training with your classmates, you realize how talented and knowledgeable you are, and you also notice how good you are at collaborating. By participating in these competitions, you will have greater confidence in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, or math.
In addition to building professional skills, engaging in extracurricular activities can build friendships outside of your friend group. It will encourage you to interact with others who have similar interests, and most importantly, provide you with a sense of belonging.
School is important, but taking frequent breaks throughout the school year is beneficial to both your physical and mental health. Extracurricular activities will allow you to explore your passions and give you something fun to do after school.
Essential life skills
One of the greatest advantages of engaging in extracurricular activities is that it opens your mind to “real world” skills such as leadership, critical thinking, communication, problem solving, teamwork, goal setting, and time management. The more you participate in your committed activity, the more you will develop these skills for future use.
Going to an interview without previous work experience is not a problem. Having a resumé that highlights all of your extracurricular activities will allow hiring managers to assess your work ethic through the skills you have learned.
University or college applications
When completing your college or university application, extracurricular activities will show admissions officers your wide range of skills. Some observances they might make on your application are the life skills you’re starting to master, your leadership skills in the debate team, your problem solving or analytical thinking in the Math team, etc. Sharpening the skills you have learned in your extracurricular activities will aid in your overall application, and you’ll be recognized as a well-rounded student who will adjust well to this new phase of your academic career.
I encourage you to choose extracurricular activities that play on your strengths but will also allow you to grow. Experiences that highlight your interests and passions will resonate not only with your teachers and parents, but most importantly, with yourself. The lessons you learn from these activities will carry you forward as you apply for university or college, get a job, or simply boost your confidence.
What are fun extracurricular activities you participate in? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!
‘Til next time!