How Extracurriculars Teach Skills That Classrooms Can’t

As a student, you hear it all the time– get involved. Myself and the rest of the Novus team were fortunate enough to attend a high school where there were a plethora of extracurricular options and teachers who pushed students to take them. I didn’t know it at the time but the extracurricular activities that I participated in eventually came to shape my character, interests, and career goals. In this blog, I will break down the skills and traits that my extracurricular experiences in high school left me with and I hope that this helps readers better understand the value of extracurricular activities.

1. Discipline 

Whether you’re in a sport or a club, being involved in an extracurricular activity helps build tremendous discipline. Many students believe they don’t have enough time to participate in after school activities, but this is far from reality. In fact, without getting involved in something besides your basic responsibilities as a student, it’s easy to think that you don’t have much time for anything besides studying. However, after taking on an extracurricular or two, you’ll find yourself making time to take on a workload that goes beyond your normal school-work. Waking up before the sun to join a club meeting, or staying after-school for tournaments and events— this all takes a ton of discipline and you’ll enjoy the process! 

2. Keeping all the Plates Spinning

If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that being a high school student can be incredibly challenging. Managing your course load for all of your different classes, studying for tests, preparing for presentations, working in group projects, the list goes on and on. However, by getting involved in an extracurricular, you learn a very marketable skill known as project management, or as we like to call it, being able to keep all the plates spinning. Through managing the responsibilities that come with an extracurricular activity, while also maintaining your academics, friendships, family relationships, and life in general, you will learn the fine art of keeping all the plates spinning and how not to topple them over. This is a valuable skill and one that you will take to college and future careers!

3. Finding your Passion and Passionate People

One of the most valuable things that we’ve taken away from joining extracurriculars, is perhaps one of the least obvious reasons why students start signing up for them. At face value, it’s quite simple– by joining extracurriculars you get to test the waters and discover what you’re really passionate about. This is an incredible time to explore your interests and even help you understand what you want to pursue after graduation. Now, once you’ve figured out what extracurriculars you’re really passionate about, you get to meet people who are just as passionate as yourself. The people that you meet in these extracurriculars aren’t like students you’ve been assigned to sit next to in your math class– these are people that you will build friendships with that last years beyond high school.

4. Leadership Qualities

Another key value of being in an extracurricular is that (if you’re really passionate), you can develop exceptional leadership qualities that you will take to college and future careers. You may start off as a member of your high school’s investment club and later become its president, or make the cut to the JV tennis team and perhaps become the varsity captain. Compared to being stagnant, this leadership progression is what colleges and companies truly look for when searching for applicants who stand out. If you’re really passionate about what you’re involved in (and not just participating to pad your resume/college application), you will develop a strong set of skills in this area and work your way up to a leadership position.

5. Scholarships and Resume Building

Now, one of the most obvious reasons (as you may have heard) on why students join extracurriculars is to help pad their resume in order to increase their chances of getting scholarships or enroll in a selective university. This is certainly true, but at the end of the day, it comes down to what you’ve put into these extracurriculars. I’ve seen that simply saying you were a member of an extracurricular usually doesn’t benefit you very much. As we have outlined, instead of being a participant in a dozen clubs, join extracurriculars that ignite your passions, develop your skill sets, and help you make an impact. If you can showcase these qualities through your extracurriculars, the odds are that they will greatly work towards your favor long after graduation.

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