In the early years of our college life, there's this overjoying-boost-up feeling wherein we always wanted to join and be active in our school organizations. We all felt that feeling wherein our ego tells us to take it into the next level, having a position for that organization, and commit to a certain responsibility which could probably lead to a
stressful job. In my junior-senior year, the year when I was exposed to the industry, I keep on asking myself, why did I even bother being active on those organizations that were less relevant to my work/industry? It came to my senses that investing my time on those things were practically useless, in a sense that I never did learn anything to improve my skill set or at least a limited amount of it. Sure, we tend to meet people along the way but is it really worth the long-run? Though I'm not saying that we shouldn't join unrelated organizations in terms of our career growth but it's more on having focus.
To keep the long story short, a lot of students have been joining co-curricular activities practically for the wrong reasons, though it's not really wrong to join them but the fact that is there are some blinded reasons for you to realize. The same thing goes with earning grades and attending seminars/workshops. We will discuss them each one-by-one in a short while. Initially speaking, this all leads to the person's credentials by the time he/she applies for a job.
Just to acknowledge, this article is also inspired by Bryan Bibat's article similar to this but written on my own perspective so I might state some similar thought's from his blog.
1.) Co-Curricular activities (In school)
Co-Curricular activities can be fun but are they really worth your time? A trickier question would be "How do you benefit from them?". We all have the reason for networking but let's face it, you had the reason wherein you need to find a love partner. Infatuation sometimes come and go but you should never let these feelings take over yourself but rather it's you who control yourself.
Another one would be getting popular and to be known to the entire college. I find this quite annoying because you may be the most beautiful chick or the smartest person but that doesn't mean that it should go over your head. In the end, nobody cares about your position and people will keep demanding on your services. Having a position in your organization means that you have to fulfill your duties. You can never call yourself a true leader if you never inspired anyone. The statement "It's the thought that counts" doesn't really imply in this case because even though you have served your school in your most little ways, did it even touched everyone's impact? Remember the famous line of Spiderman "With great power comes with great responsibilities"? Well, always keep that in mind.
On a non-officer point-of-view, you tend to join these because you share the same interests with others. Your point is just to have fun. This could also increase the chances of you learning new things on others like gaming techniques and such but not everything could be good when it comes to a whole new level, wherein cutting classes would be your next-in-line hobby. Might as well have some control of yourself if you don't want to get things bleak.
Lastly, the part where you need to gather up credentials for your resume. If you were a freshman, in a few years' time you will be building up a resume thinking all over the past activities that you have done. Co-Curricular activities can be credible but then again, let me reiterate, is your CCA actually related to the work your applying for?
For students, there is a very big misconception when it comes to seminars. The thing is that they only do it just to make their resume look "cool" but the real deal is that having seminars placed in your resume is essentially useless. Reason? Simple. It doesn't define any skill. Do you think after attending a one hour talk(can also be 2 or 3) could actually make you good in that certain field? If a student takes 4 years just to earn a degree and specialize in its field in general, do you think an hour can instantly boost your skill?
I'm not saying that you shouldn't attend seminars but I'm just trying to open your eyes especially if you're a student that keeps on hogging seminars for the sake of brushing up your resume. In fact, it's good to go to seminars if you have your eyes and ears lent to the speaker and if you're showing your enthusiasm towards the speaker. If you work, seminars aren't much of a big thing considering that your resume is not full of work experiences than seminars.
Have you ever seen a person in their resume that they placed a competition that they joined but yet never did they win it? Well, let's talk about how can it be a not-so-good thing. You see, it's nice to place competitions in your credential but make sure you had a recognition. Placing it with no recognition just makes it too desperate for you to have something in your credentials. There is a big difference between "Won as a finalist in a programming competition" and " Joined a programming competition". Never place something like that out of desperation because it only sounds like your a loser placing it as an activity without having any award.
4.) Co-Curricular Activities(Outside School)
Earlier, we've talked about what's inside the school but how about outside the school? This is relatively similar to our first topic but instead of activities and organizations given in school, now to talk about outside the school. I see a lot of students getting involved in volunteering as manpower in events/conferences but the thing is man powering wouldn't contribute to your skill. It's nothing compared to be a local steering committee trying to clean the place. I'm not saying you shouldn't volunteer but it would be better if you were the delegate.
To sum it all up, just make sure you know what you're joining for. Don't do it for credentials but rather for your career growth and if you're a student leader, do it because you lead and inspire people.