Why You Should Commit to an Extracurricular this Semester

By Catherine Salgado on September 11, 2019

The primary goal of going to college is ostensibly academics. Many young people attend college so that they can go into a certain career or because their parents told them to and partying for four years sounds like fun. What is college’s purpose, however? People throughout the ages, from Aristotle to John Henry Newman, would have asserted that the goal of education (particularly university education) is to form the whole person, to make him good in every sense—academically, morally, socially, intellectually.  One of the ways that we can aim to form ourselves into well-rounded human beings is by committing to an extracurricular—a sport, club, etc.—on our college campuses.

Modern Americans are uniquely blessed with more free time than most people in history have enjoyed. Even in the midst of a busy college semester, we have time for leisure activities.  Going to movies or restaurants with friends or simply relaxing in the dorm is fun and valuable, but extracurriculars provide unique opportunities.

For one thing, clubs, sports, and other extracurriculars usually include people who are not in your friend group. Learning to work and interact with people you would not normally spend time with is valuable in shaping your social abilities, particularly in preparing you for the workplace post-college graduation. Furthermore, extracurriculars usually push you to meet deadlines, participate, and expend effort in a way that perhaps you would not find elsewhere—the baseball or soccer player has to exercise very regularly, the member of the student activities council has to stay organized and on schedule, the debate society member has to practice and hone his public speaking skills, and the person cast in the play has to put in long hours rehearsing his part.

This leads to another point—extracurriculars often help you to develop skills (running, acting, chess-playing, Latin, art, music, etc.) which are more difficult to develop alone or which are more enjoyable when done with others. Learning to work in a team and taking on leadership roles are two other benefits that can be gained from extracurriculars. Joining an extracurricular which may be challenging for you or involves developing a skill set you don’t believe you have is an excellent way to learn how to overcome your weaknesses and branch out in ways you never thought possible. It never occurred to me (a severe introvert) when I went to college that I would become the president of one club and the secretary of another by sophomore year!

Extracurricular activities can have many other benefits: improved academic performance, productive breaks, resume building (having well-respected extracurriculars to put on a resume can be very helpful, particularly if you took on a leadership position), and higher self-esteem. Don’t just believe me–try it out for yourself. As long as you don’t prioritize extracurriculars over essentials like academic performance and general health, they can be very fulfilling and helpful. This semester, if you haven’t before, choose at least one useful, interesting club to join and participate in regularly. It may impact your life in positive ways you could not have imagined!

Hi! I am a rising junior at Christendom College double majoring in Classics (Classical Languages) and Theology. I am the eldest child in a family of five kids and was homeschooled all the way up until I went to college. My hobbies include writing novels and articles, reading, knitting, drawing, playing piano and ukulele, and making jewelry. Post graduation, I hope to become a full-time journalist.

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