Our (Indian) education system places a disproportionate amount of importance on academics. As a result, in student life, we tend to focus solely on our studies, leaving pitifully little time for anything else. Getting good grades is important, no doubt about that. But is it really the only useful thing we can do?
There exists a prevalent disregard for extracurricular activities in my country, largely due to the lack of importance given to it in our education system. What I really want to convey here is that regardless of overlooking of these activities in college admissions, they are crucial for building and shaping you, your personality, and your goals.
Admissions in colleges are overly simplified by using cut offs, a percentage which students have to achieve to enter the college. Yet real life is not like that. While a good college and above average grades do give your résumé a significant boost, they are far from the only thing a company will be looking for, when hiring employees.
In a country like ours, where there is tremendous competition for every single job, simply getting good grades is not enough. While you can get your dream job by topping exams, it would be much more reliable to attempt to excel in multiple fields rather than one.
Extracurricular activities help you in more ways than one. They show your willingness to take the initiative to do more than the mere necessary. They highlight your capabilities; being a high ranking member of a club will underline your leadership qualities. Extracurricular activities expand your social circle and allow you to interact with a wider range of people. Adding time consuming activities to your already packed schedules improves your time management skills. Participating in debates will cultivate within you the habit to know both sides of a situation, a skill vital for better understanding of a problem and for reaching more satisfactory solutions. Activities like social work are not only an impressive addition to your résumé, but also make you more aware of the conditions of those around you.
More than anything else, extra curricular activities are about doing what you want. It’s not something dictated upon you by school’s syllabus; it’s something that you choose. It provides an insight to what you actually enjoy doing, which is essential for understanding and deciding what you want to do in the future. Irrespective of how short on time you are, it is beyond doubt that an extracurricular activity or two will be worth your while.