Many statistics reinforce this theory. Over 70% of CEOs from highly successful companies including Google and the surveying firm Ingleton Wood participated in extracurricular activities. This helped develop them as individuals, and build vital life skills such as resilience when faced by difficult circumstances. These qualities were developed by participating in high intensity sports training. Not only do these activities mould these skills, but also create desirable personal qualities which would be attractive to universities and future employers. Therefore, being involved in extracurricular activities provides those involved with an advantage towards future success. The UK’s leading mental health charity, Mind, advises that in order to stay mentally well and achieve highly, “Packing extra-curricular activities and work experience into students’ schedules is a must.”
Global research carried out by the Girl Scout organisation showed that girls with a lower socio-economic status were involved far less in these activities then their peers. During a survey of Colchester County High School for Girls, the most common response to the question ‘Do you believe that extracurricular activities would benefit those with mental health issues, and for what reason?’ was yes, as it is relaxing and extremely stress relieving. Charlotte Morgan, a teacher of the sciences and psychology at CCHSG was full of praises for the positive connotations of these exercises. “When I was younger, I did a great deal of dancing. I found that this gave me a high level of confidence, and dedication in both the club and my other life experiences. I would definitely recommend it to those with mental health problems as it releases feel good endorphins (such as dopamine) and generally gave me a more positive outlook on life.”
Despite of this, the contrast between musical and physical clubs is substantial. Those interviewed for musical clubs, including three Year 9 students Rachel, Poppy and Izzi each described musical activities as “intellectually stimulating”, whereas Ellie and Georgia, both also Year 9 and extremely able sportswomen stated that sport activities to them were “extremely enjoyable, useful as they teach vital life skills, and relieves stress”. Other girls however spoke of it as an organisational aid, as in order to continue to remain a member of these activities they must make a commitment and as a consequence, dedicate their attention fully. Even those who have no involvement, such as Isobel, from form 9O, believe that if it was not for its time consuming nature, out of school clubs would be an excellent remedy for mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Of course, this is not always the case. Some who do not participate in any activities continue to strive academically and mentally, yet it is impossible to ignore the rising trend in successful people with even more success out of school life. With the hundreds of proven benefits that these clubs provide, why wouldn’t you become one of the millions of the after school club crew?
Photo 2: Year 9 students participating in extra-curricular PE (photo by Lucy)