Balancing Academics with Extracurricular Activities

As students, we have individual interests. Although we desire good grades, the need to develop these interests often rivals our academic fancies. In an era of incredible advances in technology and the resultant global demand for highly cognitive and behavioral skills (such as interpersonal skills, problem solving, creativity, communication skills, analytical skills, project management, leadership, risk-taking and strong work ethic ) it has become imperative that premium should be placed on extracurricular activities as much as academics..

On the one hand, academics seek to instil in-depth intellectual knowhow and acquaint students with the scholastic demands of their field of study. On the other hand, extracurricular activities present an ecosystem that helps to build the personality of a student through active engagement in projects that require them to develop and apply requisite skills.

However, the narrative often gets twisted where a student cannot balance these two and find themselves robbing Peter to pay Paul. The result is a graduate that can neither meet the demands of a fast-paced work environment nor answer basic questions in their supposed field of study. Safe to say, a balance is all that is required. The question, however, is how do we balance both academics and extracurricular?

Accept that you cannot do everything

First, you need to come to terms with the fact that you cannot do everything. There are cases of students who went off the academic grid because they got themselves involved in too many extracurriculars. Take your time to choose wisely. You definitely do not want a situation where your commitment in those activities is mediocre, as this immediately echoes low engagement and growth. Be sincere with yourself and let the number of activities be commensurate with your strength and passion.

Prioritize your academics

Establish the fact that your academics are your priority―of course, your academics got you to school in the first place. Further into your LLB journey, you need to remind yourself of this truth because there will be instances where you feel compelled to sacrifice your academics, but doing this comes with substantial repercussions. A decision to prioritize your academics helps you maintain the balance.

Draw up a timetable

It is usually tasking to maintain good grades and at the same time continue to be very active in extracurricular activities. By drawing up a timetable, this gets much easier. The timetable should reflect the activities you plan to attend, and the preparations or activities required for you to maximize your experience at each club meeting. This timetable should revolve around your reading schedules, and you should make deliberate steps to keep both studies and extracurricular in check. This way, you can keep track of time, and be less susceptible to spontaneous schedules.

Join Study Groups

Joining a study group helps you monitor your status with a course at any point in time. Through discussions, points that you would never have averted your mind to are brought to the fore, and ingrained into your subconscious. Besides, you can easily ask questions where you are not clear on classes you missed as a result of extracurricular engagements. Checkups never go wrong.

Simplify topics by discussing with friends

Law courses can be technical and when extracurricular activities limit your engagements in class, it gets much worse. What you can do then, is simplify topics taught in class with friends. This means you have to discuss the topics casually with friends; argue and brainstorm on cases and courses. Foremost philosopher Bertrand Russel advises us to philosophize as it unlocks portals of profound understanding. We can also compare them with real-life stories, make jokes and quips from them, and before long, the topics would have unveiled themselves. It even gets better when this gist partner is equally or more passionate about both the extracurricular and academics. The icing on the cake ― you have got yourself an accountability partner!

Relax

Take deliberate efforts to relax. However, do not just relax; also take stock of how much you have achieved in the past week.

In conclusion, the future of work is changing and the legal profession is being automated; if any student will not be left behind in the wave of technology, they will equip themselves with needed skills manifest in their respective interests. Extracurricular activities help to develop these skills; however, in order to acquire and develop a profound understanding of legal canons needed in practice, academics must never be compromised. In effect, deliberate efforts must be channelled towards achieving a balance between academics and extracurricular.

Olanrewaju Moses is a 400 Level student of the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan. He is a Director of Research and the Head of Divisions at Intellectual Property and Technology Law Club, University of Ibadan where his passion for this emerging field of law got him featured on University of Ibadan’s Diamond FM to discuss IP in relation to startups. He currently serves as the Speech Coach of Faculty of Law Literary and Debating Society, and the Managing Editor of Citizen NG, a fast-rising network of African writers. A recipient of various awards, he recently won the 2019 Omituntun in Diaspora Essay; and emerged third place at the 2019 National Intellectual Property Advocacy Competition organized by University of Ilorin Intellectual Property Club. Moses is a futurist, and he hopes to time travel.

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