Many high school students have busy daily lives revolving around school and any other outside activities they may be engaged with. Such as extracurricular activities, which may consist of sports, clubs, band, theater, and much more. A majority of high school students do involve themselves into extracurricular activities, whether it may be a passion or not. Along with these activities comes with different effects on a student, and it may vary and have a different effect on every student. Generally, students are dealing with a good amount on their plate with school and homework, especially if a student may be taking honors or AP classes.
However, there are benefits that do come with participation in extracurricular activities. Such as, a stress reliever, a break from school (both mentally and physically), it keeps a student more involved and engaged, it allows them to meet new people, and apply any type of social skills them have learned, and gives them the opportunity to learn more.
The length of possible benefits does not end there as being actively involved can help a student of they are being looked at by a higher level school or college for the future. There may possibly be negatives, which may include stress, pressure, “too much on your plate”, injury risk, and confusion of identity (confusion whether someone may identify themselves as an athlete over a student). The rising question tends to be, “Do the benefits outweigh the risks?”. Through research, it has shown among the majority of high school students in America, that extracurricular participation is far more beneficial, then negative.
Keywords: extracurricular, activity, benefits, negatives, students
Extracurricular activities are extensive physical interactions that most high school students are involved with. These activities can range anywhere from sports, to clubs, or band. These activities are chosen by the student, depending if they want to participate in it or just have an overall passion for it. All schools offer the ability for students to be active outside the classroom. Although this is for the enjoyment of the students, these activities due require valued time to put into them. Which is usually stacked onto the hours, students already have to go through dealing with school, homework, and any other tasks, for example, jobs.
These activities can really take a toll on a student, for both the good and the possible band. They fundamentally play a pivotal role in the daily life of a high school student. Extracurricular activities provide many opportunities for students. These may consist of learning experiences, making new friends, acquiring social skills, or even education wise, in regards to possible scholarship opportunities from colleges. Although they present many benefits to the student, they are very time consuming and can weigh down heavily on a student. Especially if a student is involved with other school activities, or is dealing with a majority of work from AP classes. This at times can cause students to feel stressed out and overwhelmed. These activities seem to have a cycle of physical and mental effects to students.
Physically, it will keep a student active and moving daily, which is a positive aspect for your body system and health. On the other hand, physical activities can cause possible injuries to the student. Mentally, it will teach a student skills, and give them the motivation to do better educational wise in the classroom. However, it can also cause a student to feel overwhelmed and leaving them having to constantly over think because of all the stuff they may be dealing with other than extracurricular activities. Most students will have to adapt, and make use of their time wisely, and even create a balanced schedule that will teach the student how to have enough time to be productive in all categories of their daily life. While still leaving time to rest, and giving yourself time to mentally and physically take a breather and recover.
Through certain findings and research from previous resources I have found that extracurricular activities seem to have two sides of possible outcomes. There can be both positive and negative results, and the lingering question asked by parents is “do the benefits of sports outweigh the risks?” (2018). Extracurricular activities have shown through research that they give students a healthy balance to their daily lives and give them the opportunity to be social and breakaway from the stress of school (2017). This is looked at as a positive benefit through the point of view of a active working student. Extracurricular activities can affect a students connection with their school, such as getting them more involved, and can reflect positively in the classroom if you are to build a stronger with a teacher who may be a coach for a sport (2017). Being active with extracurricular activities as a student can strengthen your overall bond and connection with your school and the people working in it.
Extracurricular activities were first inserted into the academic curriculum in the 19th century and has branched out to many different categories and subjects since. Extracurricular activities give students the opportunity explore their interests, meet new people, try new things, and find out more about themselves. Extracurricular activities include many possible positive benefits, such as better behavior, better grades, school completion, positive aspects to become successful adults in the future, and an overall social aspect (2011). “They allow students to apply knowledge that they have learned in other classes and acquire concepts of democratic life.” This encourages students to apply mental skills in which they have learned in the classroom to real life problems and situations, which in the end, they will benefit from a learning experience.
Extracurricular activities may consist of sports, clubs, student newspaper, music, art, and drama (2011), although they are not restricted to just these. There is an active correlation between the physical doings of extracurricular activities and the impact of students being pressured to raise test scores (2012). Student test scores and academic achievement reached its highest point during this period (2012). In a school district in Georgia, school systems are exploring the possibilities of decreasing or suspending funding towards extracurricular activities due to budget cuts (2012). This study explored the relationship between student achievement and participation in extracurricular activities. Thus, focused on the actual impact of extracurricular activities had on high grade point average, absentee rate, SAT scores, and success on Georgia High School Graduation Test (2012). In order to test this research, extracurricular activities were divided into 3 sections: sports, music, and student clubs. They all proceeded to propose positive reflections on student success and achievement (2012). This data was collected from student surveys from 12 high schools in an urban district in Georgia (2012).
Academic success is important to a students achievement when it comes to getting into college and the top tier schools. Another key factor that comes into play, are extracurricular activities, because you are also measured on how active you are around school (2017). While extracurriculars are an asset to a scholarship or college application, being involved also has great overall benefits. Usually students are busy with school, activities and possibly other stuff. Thus teaches students time management and guides them to creating a day to day schedule. This will students learn how to manage responsibilities with the time they have. Activities allow to students to learn and take on leadership roles (2017). Students begin to learn life skills to through extracurricular activities such as discipline, integrity, self reliance, perseverance, etc (2017). Socially this can teach students to be able to work with others cooperatively, even if they are unfamiliar with the people they are around.
Health benefits for the future are a major upside from participating in physical activity. High school students are more likely to do better in school when playing sports. High school students who play sports are far less likely to drop out, have consistently higher grades and are 15% more likely to attend college (2018). It also provides students with positive mental health. Different extracurricular activities can be measured in different levels of mental and physical intensity. Intensity being the type of level the activity is either played at or performed at. Higher intensity activities have shown to develop better academic performance and brain functioning (2017).
Although extracurricular activities propose many benefits that predominantly outweigh the negatives, there are still opposing factors. Such as the risk of being mentally and/or physically injured from the activity. However from past research, the feared injuries by parents and students are different in comparison to most common injuries that actually happen (2018). Meaning that most of the time the fear of extreme injury is highly unlikely compared to minor injury. Another two opposing factors of the positivity of extracurricular activities include overload of work and thinking, and narrow sense of identity (2017). Overload is basically a great amount of attention needed by both academics and sports. This could lead to a great amount of pressure and stress on a student trying to find time and balance their daily lives. Narrow sense of identity can be defined as putting yourself as an athlete first before a student (2017). This is basically, for example, a student who is a star basketball player, may tend to identify himself in school as a top tier athlete over a student, which could lead to poor performance and minimalistic to low grades. Extracurricular activity is shown to be a two sided figure as it both reflects positives and negatives on students. Through the research shown, extracurricular activities predominantly show more benefits and surely outweigh the risks.
As a current high school student I myself am involved with extracurricular activity. To be specific, I am involved with sports, particularly basketball. I have found myself intertwined with both the positives and negatives of attending a extracurricular activity while dealing with school and other outside concerns. Personally, I have experienced more of the positive and beneficial effects way more than any of the negatives. Some of these benefits including: finding myself more involved and productive, meeting new people, being more social, gaining social skills, and finding myself feeling way better, health wise. Although, as I previously stated, I have experienced some of the negatives. This being, stress, an overload of work, and energy loss. However, I have found these to be rare occurrences while participating in extracurricular activity. Time management has been a huge beneficial value that I have gained through being involved with extracurricular activity. It has allowed me and my following teammates/classmates to learn to create a proper and efficient daily layout for our responsibilities that need our particular time and attention. Being actively involved in an activity has kept me more productive in anything I do and does not allow me to do bad habits, such as procrastinate. Extracurricular activity has progressively proven to show a beneficial effect through both my experience and my peers.
Through research it can be measured that extracurricular activities ultimately obtain a beneficial value for high school students. Extracurricular activities provide students with the ability to be socially, mentally, and physically active while they are getting a break from everything else revolving around their daily lives. Schools and education systems should work to provide a network of categories and subjects that pertain to the specific interests of students. It should act as a counterpart to the regular norm of the education system, thus giving all students a beneficial value from extracurricular participation. Although 57% of students from ages 6-17 (2014) tend to participate in an extracurricular activity, that still leaves out a large majority of students. These are students that are not participating in any type of physical, mental, or social activity in which they may not benefit from.
A series of observations and vocal activity with students and their schools should be put forth. It shall inform the school of what type of physical, social, and mental interests the non participating students may possibly have. This giving them a direct opportunity to attend and participate in a extracurricular activity so they may presume to absorb the potential benefits. Once the school systems connect with their students, they should work to get more funding to put towards student activity. Then open a broader spectrum of subjects and categories. This will allow more and more students to open up, explore, and find interests in which they can participate in. Possibly cutting educational classes a little short, and inserting a class or time period at the end of the school day in which students can go to as an extracurricular activity, would be beneficial to the students. If they are not already participating in any other extracurricular activity. This will create a gradual rise in all student participation, performance, achievement, success, and grade average.
For the students that already participate in an extracurricular activity may be already experiencing the benefits of attending. However, students should be able to get more time to be able to put towards actual extracurricular activity. A process should also be considered by school systems, is the idea of cutting down education time, a day or two out of the week, thus the students will be able to better enjoy their current activity participation. This will decrease the possible workload or stress the student may be dealing with, while they are still gaining the beneficial aspect of participating in an activity. Both of these steps and processes would likely get more students involved, while still providing a great beneficial learning experience between education and social, mental, and physical activity.