By: Susan Parker
Many students go through college with minimal or no participation in extra curricular activities, with the excuse being that they would rather focus on academics. Being serious with your studies is certainly laudable, but to exclude extracurricular activities is also to deprive yourself of all the benefits that come along with them.
Although different activities have specific features and attendant benefits, they will generally enable you to meet with a diverse group of people with whom you have shared interests. The bonds that you form in those activities will often be some of the strongest you’ll form throughout your life and the network will be very important when you become a professional. Here are four different activities to consider, and what you can expect from them:
- Sports Clubs
Whether it’s soccer, basketball or rugby you’re interested in or something less hectic like tennis or cycling, you’ll certainly find a club for it on campus. By taking up these activities, you’ll stay in shape and might even get to play professionally if you’re skilled enough. You’ll usually have to try out in order to be admitted and then turn up for weekly practice sessions.
If your major is in health and physical sciences, athletics or exercise science, you’ll benefit even more because of the practical experience you’ll be gaining at matches, events and conferences you participate in.
Public speaking is one of the most important skills for professionals across virtually every field today, and debating is one of the best ways to immerse yourself and develop your strength in that area exponentially. You’ll need to brush up on your research skills and learn to think very quickly on your feet as well, which will also be very important outside school.
If you represent your college and do well at national and international tournaments, you’ll even become something of a celebrity within the circuit and may get invited (and paid) to give talks and train other colleges.
- Student Government
“When you apply for scholarships, fellowships or jobs that prioritize leadership ability (which is a lot of them, nowadays), there’s no better way to prove that you fit the bill than by showing them your track record of participating in student government while at college,” said Dan Fox, CEO of Boss Laser.
Apart from showing that you are responsible and someone that other people look up to, your experience at project management, bookkeeping and any other skill you picked up will definitely count favorably for you.
- Volunteering and Community Service
Spending time in an endeavor to help other people without the expectation of a reward can be very fulfilling. You’ll be helping to make the lives of other people better and that will certainly be a point in your favor with anyone who goes through your Resume or LinkedIn profile.
When you consider that there’s an outlet for whatever skills or interests you have in the volunteering sphere, from taking care of animals, coaching children, helping people with aids to sleep better or fixing things around the neighborhood, you’ll see that there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t spend some time volunteering.
Of all the different activities available for you in college, the four above offer a great combination of opportunity to acquire essential skills as well as being attractive for your resume when it’s time to get a job. Physical health, leadership experience and top-notch presentation skills are essential elements of succeeding in virtually every career nowadays, and when you add the goodwill that’ll come from being active as a volunteer, you’ll be all set for career success as soon as you graduate. Plus, while you’re in school, your experience will be enriched thoroughly through the people you’ll become friends with and all the activities you’ll share with them.
Susan Parker is a writer and tech geek. She volunteers for local environmental conservation programs and writes stories online about things that inspire her.