Despite numerous campus clubs, societies
and centres, the majority of students appear to be apathetic
towards the extracurricular activities that exist on campus.
If not apathy then it is a lack of interest keeping post-secondary
students out of extracurricular activities. Gone are the days
when one had volleyball practice on Mondays, drama club rehearsals
on Tuesdays and Thursdays and social justice meetings on Fridays
during lunch. In high school it seemed that everyone was involved
in some activity or another. In fact many people used their
extracurricular activities to define themselves. I remember
very few of my peers who were involved in nothing outside
of the classroom.
Unfortunately with the receipt of a high school diploma you
get the economic burden of having to fund a post-secondary
education. Many students who had never worked before take
on jobs the summer after high school ends and then remain
in the workforce until their mid-60s or later. The process
of maintaining your performance in the office and the classroom
leaves many students with little free time to spend on the
activities that once filled their weekday afternoons. More
emphasis should be placed on maintaining non-work or non-academic
activities. Often it is such activities that round out your
resumé of babysitting and fast-food jobs. If you add
a membership to a political organization you automatically
have some volunteer experience. Yet despite the benefits of
staying involved many people choose not to.
A recent survey of a second-year political science class revealed
that only five out of approximately 40 students were involved
in any activities outside of school and a part-time job. While
this service is not to be assumed to be the pinnacle of statistically
representative information, it did highlight the fact that
many students simply are not getting involved. In fact after
the survey a discussion ensued in which people feared that
getting involved would harm their schoolwork. Naturally this
piqued my interest in doing some research on the relationship
between extracurricular involvement and university performance.
(Stay tuned later for developments).
Whether it is a heavy course load, a demanding part-time job,
other responsibilities or a fear of marks slipping, there
are reasons people give for their lack of activity. This at
least indicates that it has been a conscious decision for
people to not get involved. However many students said that
after graduation they would pursue the volunteer activities
that they had been neglecting during their time at Memorial.
Is this logical though? If this is their logic won’t
other things always take precedence? A job? The kids? A friend
of mine told me a quote that I find very appropriate: “If
you want to get something done give it to a busy person.”
There always seems to be some students who can pull off excellent
marks, maintain a 30-hour-a-week job and have a blocked social
calendar with a few volunteer activities tossed in along the
way. Naturally this is what we all hope to attain, but sadly
such is not always the case. If this doesn’t seem realistic,
try attending weekly meetings for the society that your major
or faculty has. This isn’t too much of a commitment
for anyone and can be a springboard to other activities.
The recent clubs and societies fair held on Oct. 29 offered
a rather poor showing. As a representative for one of the
societies I noticed a decline in turnout from similar previous
events such as the Orientation Fair. Perhaps the last minute
change in date or the lack of publicity for the event was
a factor. Actually, I hope one of these was the factor. This
is a better answer than the alternative that students simply
aren’t all that interested in getting involved in extracurricular
On last count 47 clubs and societies existed on campus, with
interests from the academic, to the political, to the religious.
While the mandates differ, each allows students the opportunity
to receive an experience in university that exists outside
the classroom. If there isn’t a club that fits your
particular interest you can always start up your own society.
(Check with MUNSU for information on starting up a society
for next semester.)
In reading a recent fluffy fashion magazine (this is not an
insult, I am a big fan of fluffy magazines) I found a rather
useful interview with some top human resource managers who
divulged their hiring secrets. Naturally these follow conventional
wisdom and favoured the well-rounded candidate. If this is
how the majority of employers feel, it will be those who stay
involved that get ahead. The beauty of this is that any type
of involvement is beneficial. Involvement shows dedication
and interest, two major employability skills.
For more information on the currently ratified clubs and societies