Extracurricular activities are a special category of work that does not necessarily fall into the conventional curriculum taught at an educational institution. But at the same time, it is very important for a student's future. It is the type of work that brings a breath of fresh air to one's life and at the same time adds value to one's career.
To learn a bit more about the extracurricular activities and their effects on the future career of a student, the Financial Express arranged a live session on the Facebook youth group 'Echo by the Financial Express', involving members of different clubs of Chittagong University (CU), titled "Extracurricular activities in student's life to boost career."
The session was hosted by Tanjim Hasan Patwary, a CU campus ambassador of the FE. It was participated by Intiser Bin Ismail, president of CU Debating Society, Takbir Hossain, founder and president of CU Research and Higher Study Society, Md Miftah Mushfique, co-founder and president of CU Scientific Society; Shahriar Alam, founder and president of CU Career Club and Towfiq Ahmed Uchsash, campus director of Hult Prize at CU. The host started the conversation by introducing the participants and giving a short introduction to the topic. Then he proceeded by asking the participants various questions on different aspects of extracurricular activities.
At the very beginning, the topic of usefulness of extracurricular activities came up. The participants voiced their opinion on the matter in their own way. Mr Ismail mentioned how it builds up the skills for later life. He said, "I believe extracurricular activities increase your efficiency and prepare you for your career by providing you the tools you will require. It also helps you to learn your limits and develop thereby." Takbir Hosssain mentioned something in line with what Mr Ismail said. He explained how skills and disciplines acquired from extracurricular organisations, such as clubs, help prepare for jobs in the corporate sector and for other high paying jobs.
Others mentioned similar benefits of extracurricular activities. Shahriar Alam, among others, viewed the clubs as a platform of making an identity for the newcomers, who often struggle to find their place in the crowd. He mentioned another very important aspect of extracurricular activity. "The club is a platform, where you can meet a lot of people who can help you in building your career. In that sense, extracurricular activities help you create connections." Indeed, networking is a very important aspect of extracurricular activities. Exposure to seniors and juniors and with other people from outside, could open new career paths for a student. When asked about students' reluctance to participate in extracurricular activities, he cleverly pointed out how conventional job space like the BCS does not encourage these activities. He also blamed non-availability of information to the students in this regard.
Miftah Mushfique mentioned the use of the clubs as a platform for innovation and research. As the president of the scientific society, he mentioned the lack of extracurricular activities among the science background students and how his club might play an effective role in this regard by providing workshops and other facilities. When asked about why the foreign students are more advanced in research and other sectors, he opined, "They obviously get more facilities than us; but they are also more active in extracurricular activities. The clubs play a big role to mitigate this gap by providing various opportunities."
Towfique Ahmed talked more about the competition aspect of such club activities. He viewed the competitions as a medium for students to know themselves, discover their inner talents. "Students acquire skills through extracurricular activities. And various competitions-- business or otherwise-- provide the opportunity for them to evaluate themselves," he said. He also believes the teamwork experience gathered from such competitions helps in career. According to him, working in a club is like maintaining a job. "You get to learn about management on different levels of an organisation and develop skills for human resource works."
At the end of the session the guests shared their experience of participating in extracurricular activities amid the shutdown situation. They talked about their respective organisations that held many events, provided online skill building opportunities, arranged webinars and uplifting activities to keep everyone occupied through these tough times.
The consensus from this session was that- the extracurricular activities besides education are very important for any student, regardless of backgrounds (science, arts, business.) Not only because it provides a respite from the monotonous academic activities, but also it is a necessity for mastering skills to build a resilient character for the future.
The writer is a third year student at the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka. He can be reached at [email protected]