I have a problem. Upon first impression of me, it’s probably not something you’d exect. I’m a rather spontaneous person who would prefer to take on life as it comes at me than have the next few years ahead of me planned to a T. My room’s a little messy, I like to keep things simple, and I like to think that imperfection gives something personality.
What’s my problem?
I’m a perfectionist. Oftentimes that perfectionism manifests itself in the form of procrastination: I’ll spend an overabundance of time brainstorming how I’m going to tackle an assignment because it’s gotta be good. I procrastinate because I put a lot of pressure on the start.
My freshman year, my friends and I would joke about how I spent more time in the library than in my actual room. I had it in my mind that the only important part of college is grades, and I had high expectations for myself to maintain the report card I had in high school, so extracurriculars fell by the wayside. I really missed out that year, and I learned a massively important lesson — grades are important, but lots of other things are, too. So, to answer the bold question that’s the title of this article, YES. Extracurriculars are important. Let me tell you some reasons why.
Extracurriculars build relationships and help make connections.
Oftentimes getting involved in extracurriculars helps you meet or get to know people you might not have otherwise. Last year, I played on an intramural dodgeball team (YES, intramural dodgeball is a thing, and YES you should play). My team was made up of some of my really good friends and some who I didn’t know as well. But over the course of the season, as we got together every week to absolutely launch dodgeballs at people from a very short distance, those that I didn’t know very well also became some of my really close friends, too. Extracurriculars open the door for new friendships that could prove to be huge blessings. People are important, and activities outside of academics have a way of bringing people together and building community.
Not only that, but making connections is vital, especially for college students who are preparing to enter the workforce. Through on-campus jobs, you could make connections that will propel you into the future. They may be influential in shaping you as an employee and giving you advice for future job searches and hiring processes. People are important, and activities outside of academics have a way of bringing people together and building community.
Loosen up and enjoy life.
I feel like I get stuck in the loop of constant homework. And then all I can think of is how much homework I have. And then if I have a break I might be a little worried that I’m forgetting something. Homework and grades are important and should definitely be managed responsibly, but they’re not everything. Don’t be so uptight about work that it becomes your life. Join a club or a team, because the same God who created work also created leisure, rest, and enjoyment.
Apply what you learned and build your resume.
Sometimes extracurriculars can help you put concepts or skills you’ve learned in the classroom into practice. In a sense, they can give you a foot in the door. Hands-on experience related to your field of study can help you know whether or not that’s actually the field for you. Not only that, but if you’re a hands-on learner like I am, actually doing what I’m learning how to do helps me understand it better and makes me feel so much more capable or comfortable with it.
Plus, extracurriculars are huge resume builders. Employers love to see that you did well in college. Employers also love to see that you know more than just how to study. They want to see that you’ve done other things that broaden your life experience and teach specific skills. For example, seeing that you played dodgeball in college gives evidence that you can be a team player. Your positions as a tour guide or the head of a small group show that you have significant leadership skills. Working in food service demonstrates that you have experience in customer service. I could go on, but you get the point: Though they are important, employers care about much more than just grades.
A brief caution…
All of that being said, I do want to caution you a little bit. You absolutely should get into extracurriculars and take advantage of the opportunities in front of you, but be careful not to spread yourself too thin. Just as it’s important that you get involved, it’s also important that you steward what you’re involved in well. If you take on a billion different things, you’re not going to be able to do them to the best of your ability. Know when adding one more thing is too much, and be wary of just wanting to be busy.
So, don’t put it off, just go out and get involved! Try your hand at extracurriculars; I’m sure you’ll be really glad you did.
Majoring in Advocacy Communications, Class of 2023
Favorite Place to Be: Outdoors
Go to Rinnova order: Either an Iced Boston or ‘Promised Land’