“What should I do with my school life other than studying for HSC? Why should I take extra-curricular activities? Wouldn’t extra-curricular activities sacrifice the time needed for my study?”

I’m sure many of you may have come across these thoughts sometimes during high school!

Well stay tuned because I’m going to break each of those questions down for you and explain why you should be taking extra-curricular activities! 

What are extra-curricular activities?

Extra-curricular activities refer to any commitment you undertake that are not included in your school syllabus or curriculum. In high school, the most commonly taken extra-curricular activities are debating, sporting, music and chess clubs.

As boring or exciting they may seem to you, you may question yourself why should you even take them in the first place when they are not even included in the school curriculum? Well, keep reading to find out the surprising truth!

Are extra-curricular activities necessary?


School-Based Activities

When you are trying to cram the mole calculation formula into your brain, the thought of trying to find a club to join or school involvement may just be a waste of time!

The truth is however,  joining a club or getting involved with any extra curricular activities during high school will definitely give you a head start in life from developing your interest as well as your social skills. Not only will they sharpen the skill required in your specialist interest, they will also help to develop your leadership skills in a carefully guided way.

As a bonus, the time pressure derived from extra curricular activities will motivate you to spend your time wisely and effectively. As a result, this enables you to build on the essential life skill of time management.

For example, joining debating in your junior years will definitely be worthy because this will develop your fundamental skills to improve your public speaking and teamwork! Plus there is a bonus – you will definitely have the advantage of getting a head start in HSC English speaking tasks!

Whatever you’re interested in, you should choose an extracurricular activity you enjoy, where you have the opportunity to work with other students in your school and potentially from other schools! Not only will you able to meet a whole new crew of friends, but you will also be able to strengthen your confidence!

Non-School Based Activities

Apart from getting involved with the extra curricular actives offered by your school, there are heaps out there in your wider community that you can reach your hand into!

Getting involved with YMCA community is a great way to connect with people from different communities and ethnic backgrounds. Not only can you make a significant contribution in creating a better community with other people, but also gain valuable soft skills and work experience. For detailed information, please visit the YMCA NSW website.

You may not realise this, but extra-curricular activities do make important contribution to your HSC and beyond as they allow you to develop your interpersonal, communication and time management skills not only within your school community, but outside of it! This will help you not only during your HSC, but with anything you do after school, whether that may be university or work!

So extra-curricular activities don’t mean anything after the HSC?

Well honestly, to me they never really meant anything… until I started my university degree.

When university first opened the door to me two years ago, I was anxious, excited and yet scared. Having been accustomed to the friend zone and the environment during high school, the thought of me having to enter a new chapter of  life made me want to run away. This was exacerbated by the fact that every single of my friends were going to a different university from me – I was literally on my own!

One day out of curiosity, I came across the UNSW MathSoc subcommittee application on Facebook. The role of a subcommittee member is similar to the role of employees, where the ’employer’ is the society! Having the thought “there’s no way I can make it, but whatever”, I decided to apply anyway. Little did I know was that this decision would bring me a myriad of friendships, memories and valuable experience that will  last me my entire university life!

As a MathSoc subcommittee member, I was given the privilege to take on the role of the marketing representative. From then on, I was on my venture in conquering numerous tasks and roles which I would definitely not be exposed to otherwise! From the humble tasks of scheduling lecture bashing and catering for events, I eventually found myself promoting MathSoc and liaising with sponsors. These valuable experiences and friendships definitely helped me grow and shaped me as an individual

Every university offers a range of clubs and societies for many different interest that will give you the opportunities to enrich your university life! In fact, to a greater extent, getting involved during university years will be highly beneficial when applying for jobs and internships after you graduate as well!

Good Luck!

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Yifan Shen completed his HSC in 2014 and is currently studying the Bachelor Of Economics/Advanced Mathematics at UNSW. Apart from nutting out equations and helping out students with their academics, you will find him either reading thriller novels or introducing a range of new people to the intricate and mysterious world of mathematics as the marketing representative of UNSW MathSoc. When he is drained from all these work, you will also see him hiking, planking and water bending in his recovery mode.