Letter to Student Body: Extracurriculars Improve Facets of Life

Elizabeth Vitale, Guest Writer

Dear Student Body:

Every child remembers being told to eat their vegetables, their parents claiming the food will help them grow up big and strong. As we grow older, we eventually find out that this is actually true! Just as vegetables help people improve themselves physically, extracurricular activities can help them improve themselves mentally by providing a foundation of strong values and principles that will help them grow and expand their minds. Every school has extracurricular activities, from the drama department, to the chess club. Research shows that students who participate in extracurricular activities have displayed improved functions and academic abilities, some of which will be expanded upon in this letter. Therefore, students need to involve themselves in more extracurricular activities because these activities help improve multiple facets of their lives, most notable are teamwork, academics, and the exploration of new interests.

Some people think that participating in extracurricular activities is a waste of time; however, many studies show that extracurricular activities promote teamwork, an essential life skill. Kumon.com points out the surprisingly obvious fact that “Sports teams, clubs and activities, like dancing and music, all require children to work together toward a common goal. By participating in these activities, your children develop the skills they need in order to successfully work with others.” This demonstrates how extracurricular activities, especially sports, improve a student’s ability to work with others and develops their abilities to work with others. This is a crucial skill that they will definitely need later on in life; it is not a waste of time because it prepares the student for future collaborations with their fellow colleagues/employees. A highly informative study on nces.gov details how extracurricular activities strengthen classroom education, providing students the chance to utilize their learned lessons in a way that prepares them for future experiences. Teamwork is one vital skill that everyone will use in their future experiences. Regardless of what profession a student engages themselves in, they will always have to work with other people. These activities help prepare students for what lies ahead in a way that the classroom cannot. Ultimately, these activities are not a waste of time because they build a students ability to work with others.

Additionally, extracurricular activities can improve a student’s academic abilities. According to kumon.com “Students who regularly participated in after-school programs surpassed their peers in academic performance. They also exhibited notable improvements in work habits and behavior.” This demonstrates how extracurricular activities support the improvement of grades and the betterment of a student’s attitude toward the classroom. Not only did these students improve their academic abilities, but they also developed a greater academic standpoint in full, not just grade based advancement. Articulated by nces.gov, students with regular attendance, academic accomplishments, and an eagerness to carry on with their education after graduation have been linked with participation in extracurricular activities. Not only do extracurricular activities improve a student’s grades, they will also benefit other school related areas. These other benefited areas are going to help students during and after their school years because attendance is only important if they want to hold a job. It is also beneficial for their brains to continue learning after they have graduated, and without the strict curriculum guidelines, they  can learn about anything they want. In the long run, extracurricular activities will help improve a students overall academic abilities.

Most prominently, extracurricular activities can help a student explore new interests. Kumon.com confirms that “By allowing your children the opportunity to explore diverse interests, you give them the opportunity to discover what they are passionate about.” Students who do not participate in extracurriculars may not experience anything that actually interests them. They are stuck in the limits of what is taught during school and not much else. Students who participate have opportunities to explore new topics and discover what they are interested in and passionate about. This could make all the difference when these students are looking for careers in the future. In agreement with this concept, kumon.com highlights the notion that “…extracurricular activities let children to build relationships and socialize with peers who share their interests.” In addition to discovering what they are passionate about, students can also find people with similar interests to discuss the topic with. These discussions can build the students’ interest in the topic and might bring about new subjects branching off of the original topic for the students to explore and learn about. This further exploration of the topic may help increase a students interest in it, and may even lead the student into a possible career area. An article written by Jennifer A. Fredricks Jacquelynne S. Eccles, two professors at Michigan college, reports that students typically begin participating in an activity because they have some level of interest in that topic. The time they spend engaged in this activity flames their enthusiasm and interest and gives them opportunities to display their effort, persistence, and concentration, along with allowing them to examine their identities. These opportunities give students chances to test themselves and their limits and push the boundaries of their abilities so that they can grow and learn. Extracurricular activities are an amazing way for students to find what interests them, so if they are having trouble finding hobbies, they should just try a new activity and see how they respond to it.

In essence, three valuable characteristics of any person are their ability to work with others, their academic ability, and their ability to explore any interest they wish to entertain; all of these can be improved in the participation of extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities provide a way for students to build upon their pre-existing knowledge of how to work with others. These activities can help enhance a students ability to learn and help them develop better work habits. They can also allow a student to further explore a topic they are interested in, beyond the classroom. I urge the students of NHS to at least consider signing up for an extracurricular activity because it will undeniably improve them in ways no other endeavor can.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Vitale, freshman

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