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Stress or Success: The Impact of Extracurriculars
"I don't have time for anything!" Variations of this line are frequently heard among middle schoolers. On a typical Monday morning, several students clamored and complained about the huge amount of extracurricular classes they took. The group of distressed students gradually grew, and so did the volume of their commotion. They worried that their activities would damage their performance in school, while piling more and more onto their plates. The extracurriculars frequently mentioned; sports, music, and tutoring. Daily, middle schoolers mutter about the overbearing weight of their extracurriculars, but have their activities only made a negative impact?
“I have a swim meet this weekend, and I haven’t gone to practice for three days!”
“I need to take three tutoring classes today and tomorrow.”
“I have a piano recital coming up, and I barely practiced.”
“And there are just so many tests and quizzes too! Because of a soccer game yesterday, I didn’t have time to study for any of the quizzes.”
To illustrate, a plethora of advanced students protested about how their parents forced them to take an afterschool math program, RSM, outside of school. Fast athletes grouched about being inclined to show up at swim practice every day. A stressed eighth grader grumbled that they horribly disliked playing the piano yet was required to practice an hour a day to prepare for an national piano contest.
Busy children lacked the relaxed time to play with friends and siblings. Some students argued about the harmful impact on their physical health and emotions and felt that having many activities created stress and constant pressure to outperform themselves or others (Campbell). A poll in 2006, even before the popularity of overscheduling reached new heights, showed that 41 percent of children surveyed were stressed most of the time and 78 percent desired for more free time (Advocate Health Care). However, the right amount of extracurricular activities can invoke making new friends, learning new social skills, and induce exposure to different cultures (Campbell). These classes can raise your chance for a desired college and improve physical health. Ultimately, children with extracurriculars fare well in the future and gain valuable life skills.
Similarly, a report was recorded focusing on sixth to eighth graders at a Midwestern high school. A portion of these teenagers were given the opportunity to take musical and athletic classes and were compared with those who didn’t take extracurricular activities by their GPA, and it was found that those who participated in extracurriculars, especially sports, had higher grades (Schlesser). Moreover, students who were already thriving in school strived for extracurriculars, and later also strived for scholarships.
Returning to the scene at brunch, the students gradually realized a pattern was staring them in the face — successful students were those who had the least free time. Those who were noticed to be taking many math classes were skilled and a step ahead of everyone in that area at school. Students who competed in piano contests were more quick to grasp concepts in band. Athletes who pushed themselves at swim practice every day were claiming the fastest mile times at PE.
Therefore, extracurricular activities highly enrich a child’s life and supply them with important life skills to aid them in the future. This can be portrayed by boosted grades, enhanced social and problem solving skills, exposure to different cultures, heightened chances for a desired college, ameliorated physical well being, and an overall improved lifestyle. As much as middle schoolers complain about the overbearing weight of their extracurriculars, these activities have made a positive impact. Next time, before you gripe about your excessive amount of activities, consider how they actually benefit you.