When did extra-curriculars become the top priority?

Throughout my high school experience I was told by teachers and counselors to pick an activity, anything really, and do it for four years. Colleges really love to see dedication to a cause. My mother even repeated the same thing for so many years to all three of us. What no one ever tells you is that extra curricular can add up to time in your life. In high school one can get super committed to athletics or band or drama but it does not end in college. If anything employers want to see a well rounded person to hire, yet the balance between academics and the extra-curricular activities at times is  impossible while remaining healthy. School can completely overwhelm student at any level, and at time extra curriculars are the last thing we want to do when the bug test is tomorrow or the 10 page paper is due. However, most people and I agree its worth it.

I made two of my roommates talk to me about how they felt about extra currciulars and one said that she would have happily graduated a semester early but did not want to give up her extra-curricular and the friends she made through them. She brought up a good point of that is how people meet here at college and heck in high school. Some of my best friends from high school and middle school were the ones who were in my band class. We spent so much time together. Another roommate of mine said that she has lifelong friends from the ones she made dancing. She knows they are always there for her and because of the length of their friendship, they always will be.

I think this is an interesting topic especially with the conversation about paying student athletes. First of all before you think about this please go watch John Oliver’s video on the NCAA rules regarding students athletes, it is a game changer. But here at UNC we are constantly discussing the relationship between academics and sports. While these athletes are putting in endless hours at training they are still expected to complete the regular course load. Yes they may have tutors and resources but that doesn’t mean that they have the money to take care of themselves. I work for my money, they work for the school and do not get paid. However the debate is way bigger than my own thoughts but it offers an interesting approach to extra curriculars that most people forget.

Extra curricular activities are what help students learn social norms and are a vital part of the education system. Sport and coaches teach team work and discipline. Both of those can carry over to the classroom and positively effect a classroom. Many studies show that studying music can help improve grades. Drama can be an outlet for students. That is the point is that sometimes school drain you. But its the other things you do that help you get by. I don’t look forward to the next paper I have to write but I get excited about the tutoring session I work at on Tuesday nights. My roommates look forward to intramural games and dance recitals. Extra curricular activities are more than just a commitment level, they are a stress reliever.

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