The typical need for students to constantly maintain a balance between academics and extracurricular activities cannot be overemphasised. Poor academic performance sometimes can be traced to a student’s lopsidedness with allocating time, energy and resources among his/her extracurricular engagements to the detriment of his/her academics.
As much as both endeavours are exclusively important for an all-round development, at no time should one suffer at the expense of the other.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can create a balance between your academics and other extracurricular engagement(s).
1. Set your priority right
I have discovered that one of the major reasons students are unable to maintain a balance between academics and extracurricular engagements is misplaced priorities. They essentially minor on the major things and major on the minor things.
Students must understand, following the scale of preference, that one’s academics should always be given the highest priority over every other engagement. Practically speaking, the essence of being in a university is to learn, make good grades and get excellent results. As such, any other engagement that tends to defeat or belittle this objective should be eschewed.
2. Time management
In order to successfully juggle academics and extracurricular activities, time management is of paramount importance. I think that because some students have a poor time management skills, they find it difficult to create a reasonable balance between both endeavours.
According to Wikipedia, time management entails the “process of planning, organising and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity”. It is using time maximally to meet specific demands as it relates to the activities you are involved in.
As a student, you should learn how to prudently plan to allot time round the clock to meet desired targets as it concerns studying regularly, attending classes and/or tutorials, group discussions, club/association or organization meetings or events, fellowship, sports training and other activities you are involved in.
Good time management essentially means knowing when to do what needs to be done and being disciplined and committed enough to get it done at that time without procrastination. Therefore, to become a good time manager as it relates to your academics and other extracurricular activities, you must avoid procrastination and pessimism as they are the biggest hurdles to becoming effective with your time.
3. Cut off excesses
It is quite tempting at times to want to associate yourself with a truckload of activities, hence your desire to want to join a lot of clubs, student organisations or associations, perhaps to broaden your tentacles academically and otherwise. Nonetheless, you should understand that the implications of this are that the time that should be given to your academics is being spent on too many activities. Your attention and commitment level would also be fragmented, and energy that could have been channeled towards better academic performance will be constantly being sapped by your involvement with too many associations meetings or programmes.
Instead of being engaged in too many extracurricular activities, be wise and selective about those activities which would generally contribute to your long-term career choice and advancement. What is the benefit of being a member of an organization that would be of no relevance to your future endeavour? Cut off the excesses; remember that moderation is key, and stick to what really enhances your personal and career development as this is what really matters in the long run.
4. Learn from others
There is no doubt that some persons whom we know and even have a close relationship with are succeeding or have succeeded in merging both academics and extracurricular activities excellently well. You should not be too shy or proud to approach these persons to ask how they’ve been able to do it without adverse consequences. Or better still, you can observe meticulously the way they do things and carefully pattern your engagements accordingly. No man is an island, so be always open to learning positively from others who are doing well in this regard.
5. Never lose focus
It is quite easy at times to lose focus and be tempted to throw in the towel because of the pressure, stress, anxiety, and restlessness that could accompany trying to balance your academics with extracurricular activities.
At first, it might seem difficult and a great hurdle to scale, but keep at it. Always maintain a positive attitude and resilient spirit in the pursuit of this task. Maintain focus on the task and don’t get swayed from your objectives.
In conclusion, it is important to point out that as a student, your academics take first place over every other engagement. As such, you should place a high premium on it. However, academics alone are not all there is to making a well-informed, all-rounded and an excellent student in this contemporary dispensation. The experience, network, skill, and exposure you gain through your engagement in extracurricular activities are invaluable. Therefore, you must constantly strive to ensure that there is a balance between both endeavours for maximum career development.
Ikusika Bamidele is a 300 Level undergraduate law student at the Obafemi Awolowo University. He has represented the faculty at numerous debate, moot and mock competitions.
Ikusika is a productive member of various academic and non-academic associations where he holds various leadership roles including the Moot and Mock Society, Tax Club, International Law Students Association and Liberation Chambers. His strong motivation for learning makes him seek avenues to build his professional and leadership capacity through relentless engagement in programmes that help him meet that objective.
Ikusika has undergone training in Desktop publishing, Human resources management, and project management. He currently has an internship placement with Aluko and Oyebode, a leading commercial law firm in the commercial hub of Nigeria, Lagos. He is a reader, speaker, researcher, and writer with some of his work published on diverse online platforms.