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Extracurricular activities in university and how it impacts you

  • In this article, we are going to discuss the importance of extracurricular activities, their types, and how to choose one that benefits you.

    We all know what extracurricular activities are. In summary, they are activities that fall outside the scope of regular schoolwork. So why are they so important we dedicated an entire article to them? Extra academic activities are underrated by many students who don’t understand the positive impact they can have on your life after school. Not only do they boost your chances of landing a job after school, but they also contribute to making you a well-rounded individual. In the next section, we’ll discuss the importance of extra academic activities in depth. 

    Importance of extracurricular activities

    Get work experience

    Extracurricular activities aren’t just good for making school days fun, they can also prepare you for life after graduation by giving you the skills needed to succeed. Some of the most sought after skills include: 

    • Leadership
    • Time management 
    • Communication
    • Teamwork

    Many employers expect applicants to have some form of work experience before taking on a new job, even if they just graduated. Taking up an extracurricular activity such as volunteer work or an internship program can help you hone the necessary skills sought after by employers and increase your chances of landing a job after school. 

    A good example of this is an accounting student interning with an accounting firm or financial institution. During this period they would get to learn about managing records, interfacing with clients, and resolving real-life problems. 

    Build your resume

    Oftentimes new graduates with little to no work experience feel like they have nothing to put on their resume. They spend hours on the internet trying to figure out how to beef up their resume. What many of them aren’t aware of is that extracurricular activities can build up your resume. 

    There are many ways extracurricular activities boost your resume. A few ways are: 

    • It paints a picture of your passion to your employer, telling them who you are and what your care about 
    • It proves that you have effective time-management skills. This is especially true if you can maintain good grades 
    • It shows you can succeed in and out of the classroom 
    • It makes you stand out from the crowd. Other resumes of fresh graduates may list just academic achievements. 

    Extracurricular activities spice up your resume by giving your employer a glimpse of your personality. Not only does it improve the quality of your resume it also makes the employer more inclined to schedule an interview. 

    For example, a student who was part of the debate team in their school will easily be able to attest to their communication skills, ability to work in a team and the initiative to go above and beyond. 

    Gain social skills

    Foreign students are often faced with the challenge of getting accustomed to their new environment. For many reasons it can be hard for them to associate with their peers and build relationships with the people around them within the school environment. 

    Once they partake in extracurricular activities the burden reduces. This is because they are surrounded by people who share the same interests as they do, making it easier to interact with them. By doing this, they gain social skills. 

    Another upside of gaining social skills is how it helps students grow their network. This is an essential part of job hunting as a graduate. For example, if you joined the press club in school and your colleagues move on to work in the press, it would be a waste for them to refer you for work. 

    Cultural integration

    Many university students aren’t from where their school is located. Many of them come from other parts of the country and a number of them are international students. In this case, it can be challenging for them to build relationships and start friendships. They would have to face different forms of culture shock through the language barrier and other factors. 

    Extracurricular activities are a great way for these students to build long-lasting relationships. They also provide an avenue for you to learn about your environment in a way the classroom cannot provide. 

    For example, foreign students who take part in extracurricular activities will interact with native students more. If they speak different languages, these students can learn how to use them up to a conversational level. And this will make it easier for them to communicate with other students on campus. 

    Types of extracurricular activities

    In this section, we listed some of the popular extracurricular activities you’re likely to come across on your campus: 

    Peer tutoring 

    Whether you belong to a formal tutoring group in your school or you fly solo organizing tutorials on your own doesn’t matter. Tutoring is a great way to show your employer that you aren't just knowledgeable in your field, you can share that knowledge and make people grow. With tutoring, you demonstrate communication skills, technical expertise, and time-management skills. 

    Volunteering 

    Many people do not consider their volunteer work as relevant work experience because they don’t get paid for it. In reality, any volunteer work you do is equivalent to a job, you just don’t get paid for it. 

    Doing volunteer work speaks highly of your ability to be passionate about something to devote time to it and see it through. Believe it not many recruiters would be impressed and interested in learning about your volunteer experience. 

    Volunteer work demonstrates skills such as personal development, work ethic, and organizational skills. 

    Also read: How gap year volunteering during university can help your learning

    Clubs/ Organizations 

    This could be anything from your theater club to your debate team. Whatever the case may be, joining a club makes you part of a larger community. It puts you in a position to share your expertise and learn from others. Employers are keen on working with people who can share what they’ve learned and learn from others. Important skills you can hone from joining a club are teamwork and communication skills. 

    Sports 

    Sports isn’t just about being your school’s football champion or basketball superstar. To excel at a sport takes a lot of dedication and it relies heavily on teamwork. Many employers would be impressed by your ability to do this. 

    Some relevant skills you can develop from playing sports are dedication, teamwork, and time management. 

    Best way to choose an extracurricular activity

    Once you get to university, you’ll discover a handful of extracurricular activities you can join. But how do you know which is best for you?

    The first way to choose is to think of what activities you participated in during your secondary/ high school days. If you loved sports in high school, chances are you’d want to continue doing it in uni. You could pick up where you left with old sports you’ve played before, or even pick up new ones. 

    After that, decide how much time you can devote to this activity, many activities will take up a significant amount of time and commitment and you have to be ready to do your part. An example of such clubs is sports clubs. 

    If you don’t think you can meet up with anything that needs a large amount of time dedicated to it then be sure to ask lots of questions when joining. This will give you a clearer picture of what to expect on time. 

    Finally, another way to pick an extracurricular activity is to select based on how it could boost your career in the future. This will help build your resume and give you an edge over other students who did not maximize the opportunity you have.

    Conclusion

    Extracurricular activities make our stay in university better. However, if you feel like it isn’t benefiting you the way you expected, you don’t have to continue with it. It will only drain you. Also, don’t be in a haste to join every group or the most popular group. Pick an activity that resonates with you and can boost your career. 

    University is a place to try new things, on that note don’t be shy to go for activities that wouldn’t get your attention normally. It’s a great way to learn new things, pick up useful skills, and make new friends.

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