“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy,” goes a popular dictum, inculcated into our hearts, minds and wellbeing, from the cradle to the grave. This underscores the potency of the interplay between the ardent realistic practice of academic and extra-academic activities towards a well developed end point. Educational philosophy is very clear on the necessity for all and sundry to learn throughout life, to wit, extracurricular activities also involve learning, but not within the ambit of a regular school curriculum. In the light of the aforesaid, there is more to education than the corridors of classrooms, lecture halls, and textbooks. Extracurricular activities do avail every student the opportunity to express themselves in their areas of interests, talents, skills and passion, as well as learn to better associate with one another in the bargain. Although extracurricular activities may be associated with some painstaking efforts, physical stress and time constraint challenges, they are vehicles that exude motivation, creativity, holistic ways of personal development, and ultimately, reduce mental stress.
The concept of extracurricular activities pre – existed from the days of yore. This, however, has become more properly structured and organized of late, even with the specifics to attain individual or group future goals. Today, many high schools out there make provisions for a bulk of extracurricular activities which may probably take place either before school hours or after school hours/ even on weekends. Some of these activities may include: Debating, Sports, participating in; Group, Non – Governmental Organization, student’s government, and club activities, amongst others. Within students’ community, participating in these activities results in improved development, exposure to societal and world happenings, as well as important life skills. Notwithstanding the fact that academics are of great importance, partaking in extracurricular activities gives the needed opportunities for advancement, moving up the ladder of life
Professor Joseph Eugene Stiglitz, a 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize recipient in Economic Science, former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank, in his biographical statement, said “The extracurricular activity in which I was most engaged -debating – helped shape my interests in public policy”. That indeed, was how the Nobel Prize winner aptly described the inspirational efficacy of extracurricular activities, an effect from his childhood days. There is no gainsaying that these activities that are not within the confines of a regular school curriculum have many benefits to offer when opted for. Some of these activities have moral, socio – cultural, emotional, academic, time management, useful life skills, confidence build up, high health and career benefits inherent therein; needless to say that its fruits thereof can also be reaped in the future aspects of one’s life.
A closer look at these mind blowing benefits that accrue to us via extracurricular activities will convince anyone not to relegate its significance to the background as appraised henceforth:
A lot of people are practically oblivious of their area of strengths, interests, and passions. As a result, their inner potentials and self, remain latent for a long period of existence here on earth. However, opting for a customary indulgence in extracurricular activities can sure help to figure out hidden potentials. It enables students to become practically aware of their strengths and weaknesses, as those who did not in any way try out for athletics or football may not be aware of the gifts and talents they possess in these sports. Similarly, those who have nervousness in, and are afraid of addressing the public, may miss opportunities to develop and enhance this skill if they do not participate in extracurricular activities. Additionally, it opens up the opportunity to turn around interests and passions into a profession. Which work can be more pleasurable, self – esteem driven and gives satisfaction than doing one’s avocation as a profession?
Involvement in extracurricular activities teaches students to learn realistically, how to face challenges and overcome them without going through depression as a lot of people often tend to do in real life scenarios. In the same vein, Involvement in such activities enables students to learn how to balance responsibilities and management into the bargain. Also, students get a chance to set priorities right and manage time well, in as much as extracurricular activities require proper time management in order to gain a better outcome. Therefore, children and adults as it where, can learn to adequately fix daily proceedings as well as put time and learning, to use, judiciously. Particularly, participation in sporting activities as it where, can teach students, as well as raise their awareness about the concept of working as a team, the dignity in it, and the mouth – watering largesse that goes with it. Gainfully, students can best put to use; their time, efforts and resources through these activities.
It is through extracurricular activities that people learn and develop special life skills like persistence, leadership, confidence and belongingness which are of key relevance to surge anyone to the limelight at his/her professional stage in life. Such activities decrease inhibitions in a person followed by the increase in confidence levels. Interestingly, extracurricular activities also function as a therapy for mind relaxation and thus, they reduce the inherent stress associated with our ever busy everyday lifestyle. When mind relaxation sets in, wonderful and creative ideas crop up. It is indeed, worthy of note to state that “the cost of extracurricular activities is nearly negligible, compared to its benefits”.
Considering the favorable benefits of extracurricular activities as elucidated above, it is, therefore, apt for today schools and parents to encourage kids, pupils, and students to take part in extracurricular activities amidst normal school curricular programs. Hence, extracurricular activities are inspirational scaffolds, necessary for excellence.
Written and submitted by- Igharo Eghosa