Eventually, you will find yourself becoming bored of the daily grind of college. After a while, it seems like college goes beyond just putting your nose in the books, day in and day out. Who would not want to make their college life a lot more exciting?
Thankfully, there are some extracurricular activities that any college student can do. These are, basically, extra activities that you can do alongside your current studies. It is not necessary that your extracurricular activities are not related to your academics—in fact, we highly advise that your extracurricular activities are especially tailored in the grand scheme of finding your career path.
Why should you try extracurricular activities?
You are probably thinking, “Are extracurricular activities unnecessary, thus, unimportant? They are ‘extra,’ after all.” That is not completely true. We understand if you do not want to take up any of the extracurricular activities that we are about to suggest. However, extracurricular activities can give various benefits to you in the long run:
- Extracurricular activities allow you to learn new skills, and some of these skills may prove very useful in the future.
- Extracurricular activities also let you improve on skills that you currently have. Writing workshops, for instance, can tremendously help English majors, or any student whose major largely involves writing - be it academic or creative.
- Some extracurricular activities give valuable opportunities to gain relevant experience. Through the connections that you can make, you may be able to gain access to rich sources of experience that can definitely equip you in writing the perfect resume to submit to potential employers in the future.
- Extracurricular activities prepare you for your future career. The skills, experience, and connections that you gain early in college life can prove highly advantageous in the future when you focus on your professional career.
- All extracurricular activities can widen your circle and increase connection. There are a lot of experiences and opportunities waiting for you through extracurricular activities. Furthermore, it widens your horizon and allows you to meet more people from whom you can learn. Never ever turn down an opportunity to learn while you are still studying.
Getting high grades is one way to succeed in academic life. Going the extra mile by taking extracurricular activities, on the other hand, can get you far even long after college. To those who are aspiring students, wanting to do the next thing that can secure a successful life, heads up: Here are some extracurricular activities to try in college.
Find new personal hobbies and interests
Here is something simple—and you do not have to go far: finding new hobbies and interests. These can range from sports, such as basketball and football, to other activities, like gardening, cooking, and travelling. This is somewhat similar to soul-searching: you go and try some things that might catch your interest or that you may be good at.
This is an easy start to your search of extracurricular activities to try in college. Hobbies and interests should be no unfamiliar things to everyone. What makes them different now is that you should have a broader horizon of things you can try out. For instance, you can try out writing blogs about the best series on Netflix in various genres or making and editing videos. Here are some examples of hobbies and interests you can try out:
- Reading books
- Writing essays and blogs
- Editing and uploading videos
- Graphic design
- Live streaming
Taking up new hobbies and interests like the ones above not only lets you discover new things that you like; it serves as a gateway of learning new fundamental skills, perhaps even specialized skills that will help you in your future career. For example, editing videos and graphic design would definitely help students who are taking a multimedia arts or fine arts course. It does not even have to be directly in the same field—you can integrate your current field of study with the unique hobby or interest. In the same example, humanities majors can take up editing videos as a hobby in order to make compelling video essays.
The horizon of possibilities when it comes to integrating your field of study with your hobbies and interests is virtually endless—you only need to have an open mind and a penchant to explore. In the end, you might actually find yourself feeling enlightened with how connected things in the world are with each other.
- When it comes to your academic life, you will be able to connect the dots a lot easier in your studies, especially in materials that are quite complex.
- In your future career, this will also help you realize that you do not need to stick with conventional job prospects in line with your field of work. Philosophy majors need not confine themselves to teaching, clericalism, or taking up law studies, when they can have a successful career in marketing or even in IT.
Bottom line: your hobbies and interests can help you tremendously in developing new skills and a new mindset on how you can apply these skills in your desired career.
Join clubs and organizations
Here is another one of the simple extracurricular activities in college—and you can find it in, well, college! In virtually every college, there are student clubs and organizations that college students can join. Each club caters towards a particular skill, activity, hobby, interest, or field of study. Hence, no matter what your field of study or interest is, you will easily find an organization that suits you. Here is a list of the best clubs to join in college.
There are two main benefits of joining a club:
- You can improve or expand upon your skill or interest. You learn more things about it that you never knew. Such is the wonder of college life: you will come to realize so many new things—and clubs in college are no different.
- You can make new friends based on shared skills and interests. Clubs are made of many people from all walks of life who share the same skills and interests as you. Not only can you learn more about these things from them; you can make friends from them and expand on them together.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of this, however, is that you will be able to have an easier time finding a job in the future. This is especially when your field of study is aligned with what the club caters to. Of course, nothing stops you from joining clubs that are not related to your field of study. In fact, we encourage that you do, so that you can have some sort of outlet for you to let some steam off studying for your current track.
Go to the gym
Before you unconsciously express the resounding “No!”, allow us to explain.
First, everyone has tried avoiding the freshman 15. It is a common phenomenon for college freshmen to gain 15 pounds in the first months of their college life. Though it does not sound like a lot, 15 pounds does add up over time. We do not mean that you will gain another 15 pounds or more; we mean that 15 pounds can serve as a hurdle to real, optimal health.
MayoClinic emphasized the link between stress and weight gain. The more stressed a person is, the more likely they are to eat more food, regardless if it is healthy or not. This is a way for the person to cope with stress, by means of the emotional satisfaction that food provides. In the long run, however, this can be damaging to both physical and mental health, as people look more and more into food as a temporary fix.
Hence—second—going to the gym is important. It is not about making yourself sweat a lot; it is about pushing yourself and your body to the limit so that you can perform actions that you never thought you could. Most of all, it is to keep yourself healthy, in both the physical and mental aspects.
There are several ways that you can work out in a gym. Here are some guidelines to give you a start:
- Start out slow and steady. You have probably seen muscular people curling away with their dumbbells or doing chest presses with a heavy barbell. You do not have to do all of that in day 1. Start with basic workouts and weights that (1) you can handle and (2) can challenge you.
- Go for high intensity workouts. It is one thing to walk on the treadmill for an hour straight; it is another to be sprinting there for ten minutes. The most effective workouts are those that make you exert a lot of effort in a short period of time. Just because your workout session will last three hours, for instance, it does not mean that it is a good workout. Jeff Cavaliere, from the YouTube Channel ATHLEAN-X, said it best: “You can work out long, you can work out hard, but you cannot do both.”
- Set goals for yourself. You do not have to aim for an Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque kind of physique, just one that makes you feel good and look good. Some popular metrics of progress include the simple weighing scale. If you want to be more technical, you can utilize the body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing your current weight in kilograms by your height in meters, squared. A more accurate metric is your body fat percentage, which can either be manually or electronically measured by a device. When it comes to how you progress throughout your workouts, keeping an exercise journal to track your progress is helpful
- Do not be shy. Many people feel insecure when they go to the gym because of the fit, healthy people around them. They think that they are constantly secretly judging them and laughing at them. If you are one of these people, shrug the shyness off. For one thing, you are there for yourself. It does not matter if there are people judging you. In fact, there rarely will be, as everyone else around you will be busy seeking their own goals. Try to make this your primary motivator to focus on your own workouts.
Keep in mind that going to the gym is only a part of it. Strictly observing a good diet must come alongside it. The notion that optimal health is “80% nutrition, 20% diet” is commonly spread around, and while it is not scientifically supported, it can nevertheless serve as a guideline.
Get a part-time job
Want to gain skills and experience while earning money on the side? Getting a part-time job may be the kind of extracurricular activity that you want to take up. The largest advantages of having a part-time job as a college student: (1) you can already fill up your resume early, which is vital in your future career and (2) you can earn money.
There are numerous potential part-time jobs that you can take up. The best ones, however, are those that are related to your line of work. For instance, if you are taking a culinary track in college, you can try to look for a part-time job in a nearby diner or restaurant. Here are some part-time jobs you can try out:
- Freelance writer - For students of the humanities or of courses where writing is heavily involved.
- Graphic designer - For multimedia arts or fine arts students.
- Tutor - For students taking a track in education.
- Barista - For culinary students seeking to specialize in beverages.
Depending on your class schedule, having a full-time job instead may be a more favorable prospect for you. However, we highly advise against taking up a full-time job, as it is usually much more exhaustive in terms of time and energy than having a part-time job. This is especially useful during summertime, as you will want to have money to do some fun things. If you are looking for some advice on what jobs to take in the summer, in particular, here is a list of the best summer jobs for college students.
Getting a part-time job as an extracurricular activity is not only so that you can fill up your resume. Certainly, you will learn skills along the way in your part-time job. The most important thing that you will earn, however, is experience. When you graduate and get a full-time job, you would have already experienced the natural hardships of having a job. It is difficult to suddenly feel every single difficulty of working all at once. Taking up a part-time job allows you to ease into such struggles, so that these will not take you by surprise by then.
Try taking a part-time job as one of your extracurricular activities in college. In the future, you will be thankful for the experience.
Make a social network
No matter what extracurricular activities that you take up, there is one thing that will be certain: you will find some people who share the same extracurricular activities that you are both interested in. The first thing that might pop up in your mind is, “Yes, I can make new friends!” This is certainly true, and we highly recommend that you make friends as you commit to your chosen extracurricular activities. However, you can take it one step further: “Yes, I can make a social network!”
A social network is a network of people whom you know and can interact with. Every single person within your network is a “connection,” which can get you an advantage for some particular aspects such as, say, getting a discount in a local shop or even getting a hard-to-get job. Getting as many connections as you can allows you to have an edge in the future. Yes, hard work and dedication do pay off, but connections can make a larger difference, especially in areas where even the most hardworking person can only get so much.
As said before, your social network includes every person you know and can interact with. The following are examples of connections:
- Superiors (in work)
- Colleagues (in college or in work)
How does making a social network make it as one among our extracurricular activities to try in college? Aside from not being a necessity in academics, it allows you to develop the skill and value of socialization. Having connections is more than just having friends; it is also having people who can support you in your decisions, having someone whom you can lean back on whenever you are struggling or in a problem. For instance, if you learn how to become friends with your professor, you can have your professor either academically or emotionally support you in your struggles in college.
Now, this does not mean that you should make connections just because you can get something out of it. An important element in making a social network is the strength of your connections. It is not enough to know someone; you should be sincerely close to them. That spells the difference between strong connections and weak connections. Just as you look to them to support you, you should likewise be able to support them in their struggles. Once you understand this, you will also truly understand the value and skill of socialization.
The extracurricular activities above are just a few among many others that you can try out. Our objective here is not to list every possible extracurricular activity; rather, we are trying to convey the suggestion of taking extracurricular activities for the sake of getting a higher chance of success.
As said before, you do not need to take up any extracurricular activity and simply focus on your academic life. In fact, there are times when you should not commit to extracurricular activities.
- Extracurricular activities will take up time and energy. If done too much, your academic life will be greatly affected, causing you to be closer to failure than what is comfortable.
- Extracurricular activities may consume some money on your part which might have been used to fund your academics. Saving money for college students is incredibly difficult, as books and reading materials do not come cheap—less so your college tuition.
- Extracurricular activities can drain you. Definitely, the extracurricular activities you choose will be ones that you want. However, anything, no matter if it is fun or not, can take a toll on you, especially when you have too much of it.
Say it with us again: extracurricular activities are not needed. Do not stress yourself over having to take one. We solemnly believe that everyone should learn how to balance college and work. If taking any extracurricular activities will end up being harmful to your academic life—and especially to you—you should not make such a pursuit.
However, if your time and energy will allow it, we highly recommend taking up extracurricular activities in college. Not only will it be fun; it will greatly help you as you start your life after college.
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