Unlocking Success: The Power of Extracurricular Activities

By: Chana Wakslak  |  May 27, 2024

By Chana Wakslak, Senior Business Editor and Business Manager

Think back to your first day of high school, your first day of college. After a year of ruling the roost, you’re back at the bottom of the food chain, surrounded by strangers. In August, I came to Stern College not knowing too many people. Now, I am involved in many extracurricular activities through which I have formed many friendships; I am a student-athlete, the senior business editor and a business manager for the YU Observer, a Seforim Sale section manager, a Syms Dinner Committee member, and more. I am surrounded by a community and find myself comfortable in this school and its wonderful student body. I am more organized, more motivated, and more passionate than my first few weeks at Stern. My life may be busy, but it is now full with so many of the things I love. Extracurricular activities offer college students, like us, many benefits and can be more impactful, leading to more growth than rote learning alone.

Extracurricular activities can transform a student’s college experience. These activities can take many forms – from sports to academic clubs to the arts and volunteer work – and each offering its own unique benefits.

One of the most significant benefits of extracurricular activities is the social connections they foster. For many, college can be a lonely place, especially in the first semester. Getting involved in clubs or teams can counter feelings of isolation and boredom, providing a network of friends and a sense of purpose.

As a participant in various campus activities, I have experienced firsthand how these engagements build lasting friendships and a robust support system. The social skills and connections developed through extracurriculars can last a lifetime, enriching both personal and professional networks.

Additionally, extracurricular activities are not just about fun and games; they are also powerful resume builders. Employers are often impressed by students who demonstrate the ability to balance academics with other interests. Involvement in these activities teaches valuable skills such as teamwork, leadership, and time management. These are critical competencies that can set you apart in the job market. I have truly seen how my roles in the business editorial team of the YU Observer and the Seforim Sale have strengthened my organizational and leadership skills, preparing me for future professional challenges.

The monotony of academic life can lead to burnout, a common issue among college students. Engaging in extracurricular activities provides a much-needed break from this routine, offering a mental and emotional reset. Participating in sports, like my involvement with the fencing team, or even joining a campus committee, can provide a healthy outlet for stress. These activities not only offer relaxation and enjoyment but also help in developing resilience and emotional intelligence, essential for both personal well-being and professional success.

Some students might argue that they don’t have time for extracurriculars or don’t know where to start. However, prioritizing these activities can actually make the rest of your time more efficient and productive. Start with something that piques your interest; you don’t have to commit if it doesn’t feel right. Remember, even one-time events or short-term commitments can be a great start.

For those who believe they already have enough friends, branching out can really enrich your college experience. Meeting new people from diverse backgrounds will not only expand your social circle but will also enhance your understanding of different perspectives, making the entire Stern community feel more like home.

Think of the person you were when you first arrived at college. Now, think of the person you want to be at the end. Join extracurriculars for any of your interests. Join now. Take a few minutes to scroll through campus groups. See what’s happening, and sign up! The benefits are profound and long-lasting. Sometimes, taking that first step to get involved is all it takes to see great things.