By definition, extracurricular activities are any activity that is in addition to your curriculum of study. While you might engage in a wide range of activities outside the classroom, they are not all considered extracurricular.
Extracurricular activities often demand a regular time commitment and might focus on developing a certain knowledge or skill, improving the community or improving your sense of self. For example, you might be interested in learning how to code and as such you take an online course in coding or you volunteer in a community shelter every Saturday afternoon or you attend meditation classes every Tuesday evening.
Extracurricular activities are a healthy distraction from classroom learning.
Consider the above example of taking an online coding class. Learning how to code is a great academic skill in this day and age. Knowing how to code might motivate you to complete a computer-related course at school. In a similar way, taking meditation classes might help you cope better with some of the stress and anxieties of your school life. Volunteering in a soup kitchen might help you better understand the life and needs of those less fortunate.
Yes, extracurricular activities will take away from your homework time, and sometimes even from your family and friends’ time but in return, they give you “me” time. They give you an opportunity to develop skills you might not develop within the classroom environment, meet people that you might not be able to meet in your school environment. Extracurricular activities expand your horizons, give you a better perspective and offer you a medium of self-exploration and expression.
While the classroom learning and experience is vital in your transition to adulthood, on its own, it is not enough. After all, you will not live your entire life in a classroom. The reality of the world out there demands real life experiences and the ability to deal with different people and situations. These experiences are often gained outside the traditional learning environment. So while you invest in your academic studies, take the time to find what inspires you outside the class.