Extracurricular activities play a pivotal role in a student’s overall development. This article provides a thorough examination of the top 13 benefits that engaging in extracurricular activities offers to students, encompassing both academic and personal growth.
Strictly, they are such activities outside academics as contained in the approved academic curriculum of an institution. Such activities may be had at any time, maybe during weekends or at some free times in-between, before or after classes. It may even be during class hours; and participants may have to ditch some classes in order to attend. What constitutes extracurricular activities is limitless. Thus, it can be any activity at all, such as: sports, drama group, social and extra-academic clubs, leadership roles, cultural activities, extracurricular competitions, community services and volunteering organizations, music, religious activities, and so on.
Extracurricular activities may arise out of personal interest or necessity on the part of the person getting involved. It is highly contended that extracurricular activities are distractions to academics and consequently tend to cause poor or unsatisfactory academic performance. This contention is better considered as myth, because line must be drawn between participating in extracurricular activities and being an unserious student.
As a student, extracurricular activities are there to amplify your abilities and provide you with salient opportunities to get education in the fullest sense of it. Research in fact shows that students who participate in extracurricular activities tend to person better in academics due to the fact that such activities strengthens the brain to function effectively, thereby yielding great results when put to use. It is also important to point out that while participating in extracurricular activities is most recommended for student development, balanced must be placed.
Benefits Of Extracurricular Activities For Student Development
1. Building networks: Not engaging in extracurricular activities robs one of opportunities to network. Such opportunities when missed cannot be gotten back, but of course, it is remediable in future if one starts now. Networking simply entails the process of meeting new people in a business or social context. To live life and do better, one needs people.
Getting people around you can only be achieved through intentional networking. Thus, students need to get involved in some organizations and activities that afford an opportunity to meet people and relate with them. When one builds network, his net worth tend to increase. The classroom networking is neither sufficient nor adequate.
2. Strengthening of communication skill: When one gets engaged with extracurricular activities, he gets comfortable with dealing with people even with their diverse personalities. Through getting involved with people, communication skill is developed.
Most of the extracurricular activities one can engage with directly strengthen communication skill. For instance, taking up leadership positions in organizations, belonging to music club, sports club, drama group, debating society, academic competitions, and so on. One would attest to the fact that such experiences do equip students with information which in turn builds confidence necessary for effective communication.
3. Sense of belonging: It is trite that no man is an island. It is also trite that the need for sense of belonging is one of the five basic needs of man, according to psychology. Participating in extracurricular activities provides sufficient sense of belonging for students.
This has a psychological impact, for such students feel loved as opposed to feeling lonely. Experiencing sense of belonging makes one to subconsciously feel safe in his environment. This is the kind of feeling needed by students for optimal performance in their curricular and extracurricular engagements.
4. Time management: One cannot claim to be good at time management if he had not been involved with extracurricular activities. One who merely attend classes and come home cannot claim to be good at time management because he barely does anything. Getting involved with extracurricular activities is an effective means of time management training.
The ability to take part in extracurricular activities and still stay on track with school works is the height of time management skill. One therefore cannot learn time management by not getting involved; otherwise he would be living in self-deceit. Extracurricular activities train one’s ability to plan strategically and keep to time. By extracurricular activities, one also tends to appreciate the value of time.
5. Leadership skill and opportunity: Students who participate in extracurricular activities are most likely to take up leadership positions. Various organizations and activities which they participate in need people to take leadership positions which are of course available to only members.
Even when certain positions are being contested, students who get engaged with extracurricular activities tend to have better chance of winning. This is because, they have adequate human resources gotten from networking, by virtue of belonging to organizations. Politics is of course an extracurricular activity. Politicking demands socialization. These are conditions and opportunities that nurture one into becoming the best version of himself. By taking leadership positions, students tend to acquire leadership skill and experience which is very imperative in all sectors of livelihood even after school.
6. Boosts multitasking ability: A lot of people face the problem of not being able to multitask. Multitasking is a necessary ability. Even employers do look out for prospects that have the ability to multitask. Such ability can be acquired when one as a student gets involved with extracurricular activities. One must not get comfortable with the little he can do.
At some points, one may need to condition himself in a position that tests his elasticity. It is by learning to multitask that one’s elasticity level is strengthened; and the only way to learn multitasking is by doing it. Here, it is not advisable for one to take up loads of activities at once where he is not yet skilled at multitasking and time management. One may therefore begin by taking up fewer activities and then monitor how everything goes.
7. Self-esteem: Participating in extracurricular activities contributes in building one’s self-esteem. This can happen in many ways. One is that such student has quality and empirical information available to him. Further, he has sense of belonging; he has the human resources available through networking; he tend to have good communication skill; he can deal with diverse human personalities regardless of trite individual differences; he is self-developed; he has leadership opportunities and skills, and so on.
There is no reason for a person with the afore-listed advantages to have low self-esteem. He is rather confident on his the degree of exposure and ability which he has acquired through getting involved.
8. Personal development: Extracurricular activities are opportunities for personal development. Such personal developments cannot be acquired in classrooms.
For instance, extracurricular activities such as sports, politics, extracurricular competitions, handiworks, social clubs, and so on, are opportunities for personal development.
9. Perfect Curriculum Vitae (CV): By participating in extracurricular activities, the students develop their abilities and in turn build their CV. They are afforded with opportunities to keep track records of their success. Such can be added to their Curriculum Vitae which is usually demanded and weighed for employments and other recommendations.
In fact, employers do look out for the degree of involvement of prospects in extracurricular activities. This enables the employers to weigh their ability to multitask and manage time effectively. More particularly, in countries like the UK and United States, evidence of involvement in extracurricular activities as a student affords you a better opportunity to be considered for anything.
10. Good physical and mental health: Extracurricular activities like sports, drama, and so on, help in maintaining physical and mental fitness.
More so, as a student, positive distractions are needed for optimal academic performance. One needs not to be focused on books for a very long time without distractions. Engaging in extracurricular activities helps to ease stress.
11. Increased income: Extracurricular activities also increase one’s income. One can win competitions in sports, debates, and so on.
Networking also expands your net worth because the people you socialize with are your prospective clients and partners.
12. Better academic performance with ease: Various researches have established that students who get engaged with extracurricular activities have higher chances of making good grades in school. This is because, extracurricular activities exposes students to first-hand observation and experience of the life outside, which forms part of what is taught in classrooms. Asides this, extracurricular activities strengthen the students’ cognitive process.
13. Development of time management skill: When students get involved with extracurricular activities, their curricular works will be at stake. And when they are conscious of this, it incites in them the need to be conscious of time. They would want to meet the both ends without lapses. In that case, their mind becomes naturally accustomed to apportioning time and devising positive means to execute their tasks adequately. They’d get to know when to borrow time, when to get involved and when to take a break.
Conclusion: The relevance of extracurricular activities cannot be displaced or even overemphasized. This is without prejudice to the need to focus on academics and produce perfect grades, hence the emphasis on time management and multitasking.