Extra-curricular activties are not just for high school students
Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 00:08
It seems obvious to us that “extra-curricular activities” are, in simplest terms, good. This fact has been drilled into our minds since the beginning of high school, when we were first starting to think about our future at college. However, in high school, the largest benefit of afterschool activities was to a build a resume for college admissions offices. Now that we’re in college, what is the attraction? Many would say the same, that it looks good on a resume, only this time, the resume is prepared for a potential employer rather than a potential educator. This is true but there are other common, strong and positive values associated with extra-curricular activities as well. These include the fact that they keep students occupied, are a distraction from negative influences at school, increase networking and improve social life; and can supplement coursework.
While the common benefits of clubs, charity work, sports, etc. are all well and good, it is important to discuss the motivations behind them.
There are several different ways students join activities on campus. First, students will individually seek out different things they want to be a part of. Second, students will be approached by an organization that is seeking members. Additionally, some students will sign up for multiple organizations just to say that they are members, and to put the list on a resume. Lastly, there is the case of being dragged into a club by a friend that is too shy or tentative to attend alone.
My own observations tell me that the amount of students who join clubs because they individually seek out the specific activities is about the same, or less than, the amount of students who join extra-curriculars the other three ways. This is worrisome because I strongly believe that the only way a person can take advantage of the commonly accepted benefits of extracurricular activities is if a student joins the club willingly and with good intentions. Simply put, a person will get more out of a club or activity if they seek out the club rather than being forced to join, or joining for the wrong reasons.
If your heart is not in it, putting the club on a resume is not going to do you much good. Sure, you can put it on a resume. But, the moment an employer asks what you learned or what you gained from the experience, you are going to be at a loss for words.
Furthermore, if a student joins for the wrong reasons, a club is not going to keep you occupied, nor is it going to be a distraction from negative influences. How would it? If you do not actually want to do something, most likely, you are going to stop doing it. Maybe not immediately, but eventually you are going to realize that it does not appeal to you.
If you want to get involved on campus, do it for yourself. Don’t do it for your friends, or for the organization itself. Sit down and think about what you want to get out of extra-curriculars. It should be something that you want to explore, something that interests you, a hobby, maybe even a secret passion that you are not able to fulfill through classes or your major. Use your own knowledge about yourself to make your experience at UConn great.