I returned home to New York for spring break and was able to enjoy a change of scenery. That entailed a slower pace from the usual workings of a college environment: sleeping without an alarm clock, reading a classic for leisure rather than for a daunting paper that would count for thirty percent of my final grade, and yes, watching a real life Cinderella tale unfold before my very eyes in the form of a Harvard men’s basketball victory over the highly favored New Mexico team.
After coming back to campus and exchanging spring break stories with my friends, I noticed certain similarities—sleeping in and catching up with old friends for example—and then of course there were differences—the thing each person missed most about spring break and the specific aspects of their spring break that generated the most excitement out of them.
Spring break for me was a reflection, a time to reflect on college and what I would like my time to be after or away from it, and an actual reflection of the different sides of myself. My spring break, my friends’ spring breaks, and your spring break all have this one idea in common, if nothing else.
Reflection, whether conscious or unconscious and wanted or unwanted, unites all great and young thinkers. And it isn’t limited to epiphanic experiences away from school; a great deal of reflection occurs through the extracurriculars we choose to involve ourselves in. Much like your spring break, extracurriculars are not only for stepping away from coursework; they also supplement your academic experience.
So why do your parents and advisors encourage extracurriculars? Why do employers like to see extracurriculars on a resume? And what is it about extracurriculars that make them such a popular topic of discussion among friends and classmates?
Extracurriculars provide a window into your hopes and dreams, interests, and well, just you in general. Sure, they allow you to gain more experience in your chosen field. And yes, they do help you meet new people and make great networking connections. Going beyond that, extracurriculars play a big part in preserving your sanity. They give you the opportunity to learn something new about and express yourself. They also represent uniqueness; most schools offer a wide range of extracurricular activities to support a diverse student body. Extracurriculars showcase your differences and help develop a clearer sense of individuality.
A lot of soul searching and career considerations occur outside the classroom. That makes extracurriculars as important, if not more, as academics. The take away point is that extracurriculars should be taken seriously. The more effort you put into your extracurriculars, the more you will benefit. Many of us accept that extracurriculars are important; it is understanding why they are important to you that will help you get the most out of them and your entire school experience.