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We’re talking ’bout extracurriculars! February 10, 2012

Posted by Chris Garbutt in Student Life.
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Some people see extracurricular activities as a waste of time and without benefits, much like the way  Allen Iverson considers practice. Little does he know, though, that practice makes perfect—just ask Kobe Bryant: he’s won five NBA Championships. Iverson? None.

In the past 185 years, U of T has unsurprisingly produced a long list of successful alumni in vastly diverse fields. A lot of that success has to do with the level of academic excellence that has been in practice here, the positively competitive environment created by a confluence of intelligent people which raises everyone’s efforts to a higher level. However, while learning academic and some life skills inside the classroom is important, most life skills are learned outside of it, either taking part in a students’ union, playing intramural sports, taking part in a student club, volunteering for an event, or mentoring.

There are lots of skills and capabilities sought by employers that can be learned and/or developed from participation in extracurriculars, such as teamwork, leadership, communication and creative thinking, to name just a few.

You may also find your true calling while participating outside the classroom. Renowned director Atom Egoyan graduated from U of T in International Relations, but discovered his love for film in the Hart House Film Board.

Yet another benefit successful alumni have gained from extracurriculars is networking and friendship, because a lot of the people they meet in their out-of-class activities learn those very same skills that employers value so much, yet they are from different background and interests. U of T alumnus Craig Kielburger, founder of the Free the Children Foundation, developed his key networks while studying on the St. George campus.

So when you’re talkin’ about practice, man –  or extracurriculars – you’re talkin’ about your career and what you do with your life.

– Redon Hoxhaj, Communications Assistant, Office of Student Life