Facing a landscape of opportunities at college can be daunting, even discouraging, and oftentimes students find themselves so occupied with their studies that this vast array of activity merely adds to the stress. Too often college students think in all or nothing terms when it comes to academic, social, and extra-curricular activity when instead a more balanced attitude towards all fulfills the student psyche.
There are two ways in which students benefit from extra-curricular activities:
1. Extra-curricular activities provide a much needed outlet from studying. What a relief to be interrupted to go to a club meeting after spending two hours reading or writing a paper. That small distraction can not only help the student emotionally, but enhance their studying. Studies have shown that students who pull all nighters or spend a consecutive amount of time on one subject are no more prepared than those who spread out their study time with breaks and relaxation. In fact, studies have proved that students who spread out their studying do better on exams and papers.
2. Meeting others gives the student an opportunity to make new friends and to learn from peers. This interaction is essential to campus and college life; extra-curricular activities promote student camaraderie. For the student who has traveled long distances to study, extra-curricula can help them meet a large number of new people at one time. I highly recommend clubs and organizations for students that are out of state. Being the only student from your town or city is difficult in and of itself, but it can be make easier by getting involved in your academic community.
While these two points assert how important and vital extra-curricular are to campus life, too much involvement can hinder academic and social aspects of college life.
If the student over commits him/herself, a frantic and almost impossible schedule begins to surface. These are the ones who are student body president, a member of a sorority or fraternity, and are members in more than one club. My best advice is to pick two or three activities that you truly enjoy and can commit fully to without hindering your academics or social life. The benefits of focuses on a few activities also gives the student responsibility, pride, and resume boosters. By completely involving themselves in a club or organization, the student takes on responsibilities as a member. Perhaps they even take on leadership roles, which gives them an opportunity to fine tune skills not learned in the classroom. Being involved with and proud of the clubs and groups the student is a part of instills pride. These fosters campus support as well as school spirit. And finally, activities serve as resume boosters for future job applications and endeavors.
A balance between extra activities, academics, and social should be at least contemplated by the ambitious student, while the student not involved in extra-curricular activities might think about getting more involved on campus. There are wonderful opportunities to meet others, have fun, and contribute to your campus community.