Everyone constantly talks about the importance of extra-curricular activities, even before we arrive at university. But why are extra-curricular activities so important for everyday life?
This blog will look at practical examples from current students and alumni of the University of Aberdeen which should show you how extra-curricular activities can help you with developing your skills.Samuel Downes
Sam is a student of Business Management and Economics and uses the knowledge from his university studies to his advantage in his extra-curricular activities and vice-versa. As the Head of Business for the University’s formula student team, TAU, he has learnt team working skills such as management, taking the initiative and being accountable. His part-time job at Peter Vardy JRL has helped him develop customer service skills and introduced him to the real working world.Veronika Habrdlova
Veronika studies Business Management. She has taken part in many volunteering roles, namely working for two years within the Aberdeen Business Enterprise Society as an Events Coordinator. She currently holds the position of Secretary. She also has a part-time job as Duty Manager for Premier Inn at Aberdeen Airport.
Veronika completed the Star Award and currently attends the Leadership Academy. And what did she learn? “As Events Coordinator, I learnt how to work independently and how to deal with difficult situations because I had to complete tasks and meet deadlines and overcome various limits and difficulties in order to provide an enjoyable smooth event for our members and partners. I strengthened these abilities even further when I used them as core skills in my duty manager role while learning to be a truly precise, punctual and good communicator as my team relies on me in many aspects during the shift.”
Jonathan is an alumnus of the University of Aberdeen. He was Sabbatical Officer for Employability at AUSA. It is this position where he learnt how to chair meetings efficiently and how to make sure that people can work together as a team. Whilst at university, Jonathan was also PR officer for the Politics and IR Society, and he noted that the society might be still using a logo he designed for them about six years ago. He believes that his part-time job as a bartender during his studies gave him “a really good understanding of the importance of preparation and empathy, which are superpowers when it comes to work.”Chubbe Anucha
Chubbe is an alumnus of the University. During his time here, he was a member of many societies, academic as well as non-academic. He was Secretary for the Biomedical Society, and was involved in sports such as Lacrosse where he was a 1st team member.
Chubbe is hoping to qualify as a lawyer in the future. Currently, he is working as a paralegal. In his words, “The various law societies on campus were excellent for organising networking events which increased your interaction with, and understanding of, various firms. When it came to interview situations for legal and non-legal positions, I had a lot of experiences to draw from which interviewers enjoyed.”
As you can see from these examples, extra-curricular activities can teach you a lot. It does not matter whether you decide to volunteer for a couple of hours for a cause you support or work part-time to be able to pay your bills. Inevitably, these activities will give you valuable knowledge and skills. Ultimately, these experiences will help you to develop into a rounded personality, and what you learn on the job will certainly be of use to you in the wider sense at university, and later in life.
In my experience, participating in extra-curricular activities will help you to get out of your comfort zone. For example, through my involvement in the Student Council I am now more confident in public speaking.
If you are taking part in any co-curricular activities within university, you can have them recognised on your Enhanced Transcript. Many roles are also recognised through the Star Award. The Star Award gives you the opportunity to attended workshops and develop your skills further. If you are not taking part in any voluntary activities at university, you can still develop your skills through workshops in the Leadership Academy programme.
The Star Award and Leadership Academy are now running in both semesters. As mentioned, Veronika took part in the Star Award and is currently undertaking the Leadership Academy. Her experience is as follows: “Workshops from the STAR Award helped me to identify my strengths and weaknesses along the way and built much needed confidence in my skills, too.” I also took part in both programmes and the workshops are very interesting as you get to meet a lot of speakers from different companies and initiatives.
To find out more about co-curricular activities and how you can get involved click here.