It’s no secret that the job market is more competitive than ever, and for students who are in the midst of finishing their degrees, this can be a scary thought. But while you’re paying thousands of dollars for your education, why not make the most of your money and get involved in some extracurricular activities as well?
I was once a student who was just that – a student. I didn’t try to do anything extra; partly out of intimidation, I think. But my goal for my 3rd year was to change that, and I’m proud to say that’s one 2013 resolution that I managed to accomplish.
Now I can’t tell you how to overcome your own fear and intimidation of participating in social events and gatherings, but I can try to give you as many reasons as possible for why you should take the step out of your comfort zone. So whether you’re just entering your first year of post-secondary, or maybe you’re finishing up your grad program – it’s never too late to get involved.
Employers Love It: If you take a look around any one of your classes, you’ll see a whole boatload of students who are learning the same content as you, completing the same assignments, and essentially getting the same degree you are. So what’s going to set your resume apart from their’s? I’m so tired of hearing my classmates complain about how hard it is to find an entry level job in their field when they refuse to think critically about their own experience. TIP: If you’re not getting hired anywhere, joining a club or participating in an intramural is a great way to bulk up that resume in other ways! This experience is sometimes viewed as just as valuable (and sometimes even more valuable) than your line up of part-time jobs at fast food restaurants.
The Skills are Transferable: Teamwork, organization, communication, time management, public speaking – these are just a FEW of the skills I’ve been able to refine since immersing myself in extracurricular activities. Depending on what kind of activity or club you choose to join, you may learn other things or different things as well. But the best part is that these are all skills that are highly valued in the real world… so joining that pick-up basketball team is going to impact your life in more ways than just helping you perfect your free throw.
New Friends: I get it – sometimes when you’re halfway through your undergrad you feel like you really don’t need to meet anyone else beyond your core group of housemates, or whatever. But forget this #nonewfriends thing, can’t you see how ridiculous you sound? There is nothing wrong with expanding your network to include as many people as possible. These don’t have to be people that you feel obligated to spend every Friday night with, but what if you suddenly come down with the flu and have to miss a week’s worth of class? Or what if someone has connections to that one company you really want to work for? You never know who you could meet.
Life is More Exciting: I’ve personally found that Mondays are a lot easier to handle when I know I have an awesome event coming up on Friday, and that’s one thing that extracurricular activities will give you that your part-time job, and schoolwork can’t (does anyone really look forward to writing an essay?). If you’re the member of a team, I guarantee you’ll find your schedule a lot more full than usual, but when has this ever been a bad thing? I could go on forever about all of the exciting things my CSMMSS team has in the works (but if you’re my Facebook friend you’re probably sick of hearing about them), so if you find your days blurring together because you spend every weekend studying – stop this trend by adding an extracurricular to your schedule.
The Opportunities are Endless: You know the quote that goes something like “when one door closes, another opens”?, well I’m a strong believer in the quote that goes something like “when one door opens, so does another and another”. If you’re the active member of a team, others are going to take notice and recognize your talents – which is only going to benefit you. If someone knows you’re great at graphic design, one day when they need some work done, there’s a good chance they’ll be contacting you! Getting involved is the first step in a chain reaction that will continue to impact your life beyond your activities with that particular team.
Seeing as it’s still January, I think there’s still time to make “getting involved” your 2014 resolution. And although cutting coffee out of your life, or using social media less are always resolutions made with the best intentions – this is one that will enrich your life in more ways than one.
If you’ve had a positive experience with participating in extracurricular activities, I’d love to hear about it! Comment or send me an email. And check out all of the awesome things my beloved CSMMSS team is doing here.