Article by Kara Wheeler, Reporter
Although rare, if a college student just so happens to have spare time in their already overflowing schedule, they may ask the question: “Do I take more courses or extracurriculars?”
To preface, however, a distinction has to be made behind the choice of taking more classes or extracurriculars depending on the student’s desired outcome. If a student has the goal in mind of receiving as much education as possible during their time at college (a mentality of “more bang for your buck”), then that student should enroll in more courses.
However, even in this case, involvement in extracurricular activities actually promotes academic performance. According to a study done in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, “students who participate frequently in extracurricular activities tend to have higher grades, better test scores, and more positive educational experiences in general.”
Extracurriculars can range from intramural sports to academic groups such as the debate team or writing for The Saint (shameless plug). In this way, not only can extracurricular activities act as a stress reliever and a way to meet friends outside a student’s field of study that they might not otherwise interact with, but they can also boost academic performance by practicing important skills such as public speaking, literacy, critical thinking and group work.
Participating in extracurricular activities can also open doors to career paths that classes might not. It is impossible to know who or what kind of person will witness you partaking in a group or activity with passion, and how that can morph into a connection that assists in career success.
Social skills, which are vital as a young graduate entering the workforce undergoing countless interviews, also boost after involvement in extracurriculars. Meeting new people and people whose interests might not necessarily align with yours is a great way to hone in on interpersonal skills, and foster virtues of empathy and understanding.
Understanding is not the only virtue practiced through involvement in campus activities and organizations, but a multitude of others can transform into habits. Consider the student organization Protect Life AQ, where serious matters of human dignity and respect for human life are dealt with in all efforts. By exposing students to real-world implications and being an active participant in human rights movements, not only are the students transformed, but the world can be, as well.
No matter what a student’s goal is, the type of experiences college extracurriculars can offer are unique, and will be unlike anything offered post-graduate.