Extra-curriculars: how to get the most out of university and high school


Now more than ever, extra-curricular activities are a vital part of landing a job. Yes, you heard right – employment. You might not be ready to think about getting a job yet, but it’s a useful snippet of advice that many people wish they had been given earlier.


How, where and what to join


Universities and high schools are brimming with endless options of school-approved activities.

The best way to choose an extra-curricular is this: choose something that excites you. Simple as that. If you’re making an after-school or after-hours commitment to something, make sure it’s an activity that you’ll be keen to go to – even if that means catching a packed bus in the pouring rain to get there.

Don’t feel locked in to choosing an activity that directly relates to your career path. Sometimes, choosing a club that’s too close to your future job can make it feel exactly so – like work instead of fun. You have permission to go wild.

Pro tip: If you’re in uni, you can find most University clubs via your University’s union website. Here’s an example of what’s on offer from University of Sydney. In high school, you’ll need to check with your office to find school-approved activities, or jump onto Google to search up local dance classes or maths tutoring gigs.


See what your hobby can do for you

Now you’ve chosen the club/activity/sport/recreation of your dreams, it’s time to think about what it can do for you.

If it’s something you’re particularly passionate about, consider taking a leadership role. You can smack that extra-curricular job on your resume as an example of “excellent leadership skills”. Or else, commit yourself to producing a tangible result – advertising the comedy club’s upcoming show will look great on your CV when a huge crowd turns up.

Pro tip: Got an interest that’s not represented? Start your own! You’ll need approval from your University, so double check there’s not a similar club that already exists. Find some members, fill out the University’s paperwork and voila – you’re a club founder. How’s that for a resume boost?


Getting the balance right


School work, staying on top of your grades and juggling a part time job can be hard – we hear you. You might read all this and think, “That would be great… if only I had the time.” In most circumstances, the time is there. It’s just the juggle that is yours to master.

If you’re interested in joining extra-curriculars, try slotting in a small commitment to begin with. A half an hour, here or there. Slowly, you should get better at the juggle; you’ll start bringing deadlines forward to make sure you can fit it all in, pre-planning and managing your time. You can point to a busy schedule and say to an employer, “Look, here’s how I know I can multi-task and manage responsibility.”

“If you want something done, ask a busy person.” – Benjamin Franklin


High schoolers: Use extra-curriculars to shape your future

Careers advisor Michelle Ibrahim spends her days ensuring high school students are getting the most out of their time at school. An unexpected perk of joining extra-curriculars and meeting new friends are the type of connections you’re likely to make – and they might even score you a great internship.

“It’s increasingly difficult for students to find worthwhile work experience places due to the universities having internship placements. Interesting places are limited.” she says. So it’s all about who you know, not what you know.

Her best advice for extra-curriculars in school? Visit the places you want to study.

“We learn by doing and seeing. Experiencing universities and TAFE colleges, participating in their career days enables students to form clearer options in their minds. They get to liaise with university and TAFE staff and it is just a wonderful opportunity to see what’s out there other than looking on the internet or in a handbook.”

-Eliza Brockwell

GIFs via Giphy

Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.


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