Lessons to Be Learned From Extracurricular Groups

When I started at UCSB last winter, I knew that I wanted to get involved in any way possible. From my time in community college, I was aware of the benefits that would come from joining extracurricular groups. In junior college, I held leadership positions in the Film Club, Communication Club, and even the Computer Science Club. These groups, more than anything, helped me grow as a student and a leader. Even more than that, they helped me learn (and expand upon) a lot of important life lessons. Here are some of the lessons I think can resonate with anyone in an extracurricular group.

  1. 1. Individual strengths

    Everyone brings something different to the table. We all have unique abilities that may not have been explored before we joined a club. College is the best, yet arguably the most difficult time in life to explore these strengths. Before college, I wasn’t really sure what my strengths were, but as soon as I started being active in clubs, I realized that: I am a good team player, I work well independently and I remain positive in many situations. These are important skills to have for any job in the future.

  2. 2. Benefits of teamwork

    A group photo of the UCF Cheer team.

    I have always believed in the importance of teamwork, and clubs have solidified this belief. As I mentioned before, I learned that I am a good team player, and this is very important because teamwork not only makes the dream work, but it solidifies people as good employees. You will be much more successful if you are good in a team. When I pledged Alpha Phi Omega, a lot of our assignments were group work such as raising money for philanthropy and planning a dance. For The Bottom Line, the news team collaborates together and even writes some articles in pairs. In both organizations, everyone had to contribute equally in order for the end result to be beneficial, and the results have always been optimal.

  3. 3. The happiness of trying new things

    The happiness that comes from trying something new is truly underrated. I feel like that isn’t a “lesson” to learn necessarily, but nonetheless it’s important to try something new and step out of your comfort zone. By joining clubs, I essentially leaped out of my comfort zone. I’ve always been pretty shy, and clubs have helped me move past this fear of being around large groups. Most importantly, it’s made me happy to challenge myself; a kind of happiness I will never forget.

  4. 4. Importance of hard work

    Clubs taught me the importance of working hard. I didn’t expect pledging APO to be as difficult as it turned out to be. Luckily, I managed the difficulty, but it was not easy. Between service hours, interviews, and required meetings, it actually felt like more work than being an active. Despite the hard work, though, I knew how important it was to try my hardest at all times. It was mandatory to finish everything, and I knew that I didn’t want my hard work to be for naught. I feel like I had a lot of fun pledging too, and it didn’t matter that I was pushing myself. It has been worth all of the work.

  5. 5. Time management

    Time management is a crucial skill to have in anything that you do. It’s important to know what things deserve the most time and what things can wait. Fall quarter was difficult to manage with reporting, pledging, working, interning, and school. If I didn’t know how to manage my time, I would not have been successful. In order to manage my time, I planned accordingly by using my Google Calendar, scheduling commitments on days where I knew I had time, and taking breaks when necessary. I even took an 8am just to give myself time during the day to focus on more difficult classes. It was ultimately worth it since I got straight A’s and because I had a lot going on, I used my club skills to leverage my time to the best of my ability.

  6. 6. The importance of balance

    This is similar to time management, but clubs taught me not to forget about my mental health. When you have a lot going on, it’s easy to overwork yourself. All this does is risk burnout. I had a few friends who quit clubs completely because they didn’t find balance. It seems easier said than done, but be honest with yourself! Don’t be afraid to take breaks. You’ll thank yourself later.

Clubs are not for everyone, and some people don’t like the idea of optional involvement outside of school. Sometimes there’s no time, either, and it’s not worth joining a club for the heck of it and then burning out. There is no fault whatsoever in not being able to be involved, but if you are able, I challenge you to try it. Who knows? It might be very beneficial to your development.