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Extracurricular Activities- The need of the hour



Parents often insist their child to be study oriented and play less. The belief is that dedicating greater time towards study will lead the child to a fruitful life. But parents forget –“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.                                                
                                                                                         
Every school encourages children to exhibit their talent in the area of sports, drama, music, art, science etc. But how many kids grab such opportunities? How are these kids different from the ones who only study? Research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the National Research Council (U.S.) shows that participation in extracurricular activities, sports and clubs are key characteristics for evaluating student engagement and students’ sense of belonging at school. This research also shows that both engagement and belonging have a significant impact on students’ overall success

Sandra, a 15 year old always spent time studying yet was an average student. She lacked self-confidence. Her family too remained ignorant. One day at school she was asked to read a quote the next day in the prayer assembly. She practiced day in and day out. Yet, ended being forgetful during her turn. Sandra was completely disappointed.  But, this day changed her life. At the conclusion of the prayer assembly Patricia the class monitor approached Sandra and said “Practice before the mirror. This is what I do always. It helps to build confidence”. Few days later approached the annual elocution competition. Sandra volunteered to participate in the competition. Her brother helped her prepare and she practiced well before the mirror as suggested by Patricia. To her surprise, she presented well with a lot more confidence. However, she did not bag any prize. Yet, a drastic improvement was noticed. The next year, she again participated in the same annual elocution competition and took away the first runner up award. This was just a small start. In the later years she won various awards for her oratory skill and academically did extremely well. She graduated with the tag of being the best outgoing student of the year from a prestigious institution. What triggered Sandra’s confidence? A small act of guidance by her friend Patricia or her own initiative to experience change and move ahead? Well, that is a question that could be debated.

Extra curricular activities should be made compulsory in every school and ensure 100% student involvement in any one or more of school activities including class monitoring, student body, student clubs and so on besides sports, art and cultural activities. The new practice of providing credits on participating in extracurricular activities is a recent development in many educational institutions which is derived from the west.  This puts extra-curricular activities in a neck and neck position with academics and provides an opportunity to all the students to exhibit their talent.

Presently, academics is not the single criteria to gain job. Perhaps, pure Concentration on studies can make a student a “Nerd”. A student with a balanced track of academics and extracurricular is often preferred for a Job. Psychological research has shown individuals engaged in extracurricular activities right from school are more likely to come up with innovative ideas at their workplace. The reason behind this is that the creative regions of their brain in the left hemisphere are nurtured and enhanced almost completely by the time they graduate, and hence bosses prefer looking at more activities embedded within the subtitles hobbies/extracurricular activities in CVs.

So dear students initiate a step and involve in at least one extracurricular activity so that you have an edge over your competitors in the interview table.

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