The Importance of Extracurricular Activities

Sanna Patel

As the return to normalcy begins, students have been jumping back into our usual routines, including after-school activities and service clubs. Personally, I had completely forgotten what it was like to stay back at school late, and I’m not going to lie, it takes a lot out of me nowadays. The reason I don’t complain about it, though, is because I know just how important these clubs are. Their importance lies not in their appearance on my college applications or image as a good citizen, but in simple yet unimaginably meaningful interactions.

On the topic of service clubs, I feel as though the word ‘service’ connotes a one-way gift or interaction from someone with privilege to the underprivileged; I don’t think this idea aligns with service’s true benefits. Service, to me, is about interacting with people of different backgrounds and learning as much as we can from each other. For example, when we often teach local kids English, they are learning a language as much as we are learning to communicate in a new way. We learn about non-verbal communication, tone, adaptability, and patience, clearly gaining a whole new skill set. Another important aspect of service-learning is gratitude; at AES, we are lucky to have such a wide variety of service opportunities, and each activity gives us the chance to appreciate the privileges we may take for granted. However awful online school may have been, at least we were able to continue learning so seamlessly, while many of the groups we work with were unable to access to regular classes. No matter what, our service interactions go beyond hours on an application and teach us lifelong lessons that even we sometimes fail to notice.

Not only do clubs – including sports, arts, and service – teach you about interacting with others, but they can also guide you towards life paths by discovering your strengths and interests. Sports can teach you about your dedication, drive, and teamwork skills, while arts hone your creative abilities and ideas on perspective. Each activity serves a greater purpose, but that doesn’t mean they cannot also be fun. Clubs should be an outlet for students as much as they are an opportunity to grow. Because it feels wrong not to, I’m going to take this moment to strongly recommend writing for the ROAR; this magazine is one of my favorite ways to hone my writing abilities while being creative and writing about virtually anything I’d like. You’re already a reader, so you might as well try out writing for us too! I promise it is a relaxed, enjoyable experience that you will not regret!

Alright, now back to the benefits of extracurriculars. As I have said before, there is always a new skill to learn from just about any club; this also means non-academic activities. As you try to gain leadership roles, you will find that these positions are excellent ways to sharpen your logistical thinking, which is important for any lifestyle. Additionally, you gain people skills through leadership and will find ways to be more accommodating while still pushing yourself and your club to new heights. This all takes work, but leadership starts small and only grows from there. I highly encourage everyone to simply apply for the next leadership position you can, you never know what you will learn and gain from it!

Now, for my last possible bit of free advertising, I want you to reflect on how just a couple of hours a week can change not only yours, but so many others’ lives. What is the harm, and more importantly, how do the benefits far outweigh them? The answer is they don’t. So please, go sign up and dedicate a small amount of time to extracurriculars, you will not regret it!