Studies and leisure: striking a balance

ALL ROUND DEVELOPMENT

Studies and leisure: striking a balance

Students are often a common recipient of a lot of general wisdom, which is directed at them from varied quarters. One common question they are often asked is ‘what they want to be in life.’

And this question is sometimes accompanied by reminiscences of the questioner about the hardships they went through to achieve what they may have achieved. Personally, I have always found that best directions are the ones that I realised, and not the ones that others in their wisdom came up with. I try to follow the same rule while speaking to students. Information about what can be done is what everybody else can provide, but the goal of what one wants to be has to come from within. So, let’s explore together what such goals usually are.

A common goal of education is the ability to earn one’s livelihood. If we look around, livelihood may appear to be the biggest concern for the society. Education systems today are increasingly calibrated towards producing individuals who will benefit from the economy.

What else is considered to be a feasible goal of education? The ability to help
improve the society we live in? The ability to realise one’s full potential? The ability to understand the nature of the world we live in and even beyond? Or, all of these combined? So, while these are questions that each individual answers for himself or herself, I would urge you to definitely think beyond studies when it comes to setting your goals.

Stronger academic streakExtra-curricular engagement is considered important, as it is believed to positively impact our future by fostering holistic development. Studies have shown that students who maintain a balance between curricular and extra-curricular activities have a stronger academic gradings. Such students are also good at managing time and are capable of managing highly stressful situations.

It is important to maintain an healthy balance between curricular and extra-curricular activities. Here are some of the reasons as to why it is crucial to do so:

 Fostering creativity - Unlike popular belief, creativity and innovation can be developed. One just needs the right environment to foster their development and by engaging in extra-curricular activities, it can help you nurture creativity. Art and craft, music and creative writing are some of the creative pursuits that will open new doors and will encourage you to think out-of-the-box. Creativity has no boundaries and as a skill it will surely set you apart.

 Identifying your talent(s) - All of us are blessed with a unique talent and it is our duty to find out what it is. But how does one do that? Well, you could start off by exploring various curricular as well as extra-curricular activities that you would like to participate in. These opportunities will help you determine your interests, strengths and weaknesses that in turn will help you choose and prepare for a career in the future.

A strong social network - One needs to interact with people to make new friends not just stick one’s head in books. Step out and interact with friends - it is the only way for you to get new people and for them to get to know you. Engaging in extra-curricular activities or being a part of a study group can be a great way to do that. It will give you an opportunity to make a new set of friends.

 Building self-esteem - Being good at many things will definitely give you a heads-up as compared to being exceptionally great at studies only. Staying actively involved in different activities will help you explore and understand your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, better. This in turn will give you an opportunity to improve as well as acquire new skills that will foster holistic development of your personality. This experience will not only help you in becoming independent and more confident, but will also build your self-esteem.

Better time management - Balancing curricular and extra-curricular activities will not only help you develop an interesting personality, but it will also benefit you by acquiring time management skills. It will help you get better at multi-tasking and prioritising. So, not only will you be great at handling multiple tasks but also acquire expertise in making the right decision within a given time frame.

 Being physically active - Today’s lifestyle is such that it propagates laziness, leading to fatigue as a extremely common problem. Being physically active has numerous health benefits. Physical activities help boost metabolism, blood circulation, stamina as well as mental alertness. Extra-curricular activities will propagate the feeling of being active and energetic.

 Practising teamwork - In today’s time, where nuclear families are common, growing up in isolation leads to a lot of difficulties in one’s ability to work efficiently as a part of a team. Simple qualities which one finds missing now is the ability to settle conflicts cordially. Teamwork, hence, is a very important social skill that propagates the ability to be a participative and receptive team player. One can gain these basic qualities by engaging in a variety of curricular and extra-curricular activities.

Beating stress- Exams, homework, revision tests, etc. lead to a high level of stress. One can beat this stress by engaging in extra-curricular activities that will provide the much needed leisure and recreation. They will help divert your mind off its worries.

Impressive Resume - It is known that many reputed universities worldwide seek a resume which displays an intricate balance between curricular and extra-curricular activities, and look at one’s overall development as a criterion. As a result, it important for one to show that they are versatile and  engage themselves beyond their academics.
These pointers can help you in creating the balance between your studies and extracurricular activities. By extension, you would be able to develop yourself in into a ‘all round student’ and stand out from the crowd.

(The author is the academic head of  Mount Litera Zee School)

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