Innovations Roadmap #8

Extracurricular [ek-struh-kuhrik-yuh-ler]
1. outside the regular curriculum or program of courses
2. outside one’s regular work, responsibilities, or routine
TOPIC: What is the value of extracurricular activities?
Extracurricular activities teach a person what they do and don’t like to do. I think that people naturally gravitate toward activities they would like to do, but they learn in that experience. For example, they may develop frustration towards a certain concept. From what I’ve seen, this frequently is directed towards society. They note there’s a problem with society, and it frustrates them that this problem may even exist. In a really good situation, there may not be any. I used to and eventually intend to go back to a program called Knitting Necessities, where students can knit or crochet hats for newborns up at the hospital. I did originally think that there wasn’t a problem with this. Then, while looking around for what I could do as my ‘big problem,’ I saw there wasn’t a program for kids or adults. They deserve love too! Aside from that, I had no reason to be frustrated at any sort of societal problem.
It’s something that helps a person focus on how to develop the skills they need for whatever they want to do in life. For example, I want to be able to teach English, so my main volunteer effort currently involves teaching English to refugees. I can develop techniques, see what works, what doesn’t, and educate myself more on bridging cultural gaps and being sensitive to a culture way different from my own. In the end, extracurricular activities can give people new experiences.

The English Skills Learning Center, the place I volunteer at.

There are other extracurricular activities besides volunteer work. Sports, the fine arts, Model UNs (which my friends loved), student governments, clubs, competitions, sororities, fraternities… There are so many things that someone can get involved in. Another value that extracurricular activities have is teaching students new skills they may not already possess. It can awake a passion that the person may not even have known existed and opens up new areas to explore. It helps develops certain personality traits, certain skills, and certain behaviors that make people better human beings.

In addition to all of these wonderful things that extracurricular activities can do, it can also stave off boredom. I know some of the things I used to do that could be considered “extracurricular” were things that helped me keep myself entertained. Choir was like that. So was my creative writing club and ASL club. It also helps an individual meet new people. I’m 100% positive that if I had not joined my creative writing club, I would not have met the upperclassmen and underclassmen as I did. In some cases, maybe I had good reason for not wanting to meet them outside of a club setting. But in many of those cases, I never would have talked to them, because I was simply too shy. Having extracurricular activities encouraged me to meet new people and to swallow some of my shyness. I am still shy, but participating in these kinds of things taught me to be bold, because I will not get far if I can’t speak up. In many ways, extracurricular activities can give people a way to sample what they think is interesting, what they do and don’t like, and teach them some life lessons, without throwing them into the real world and making them suffer. They’re very useful and wonderful things to get into.

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