Extra Curricular Activities

Lean Creativity Edition

Yael Raden
May 27, 2021
7 min read

Remember the Days?!

Remember the days where extracurricular activities were a necessity and our childhood schedules were filled with clubs, lessons and sports. Eighty three percent of students ages 6-7 participate in at least one extracurricular activity, and even though some kids are parentally pushed to join, you can’t deny that they have gained skills that helped enhance their in school learning. We’re no longer kids and no longer have a curriculum to oblige to but we are obliged to work and successfully at our jobs. Lean creativity is an ideology that all life engagement can benefit our productivity when our mindset is such. Engaging in extracurricular-like activities as an adult is a great way to utilize that time to learn new skills that can help you reach the next level of self improvement

Learn a Foreign Language

The world is more connected than ever and globalization and as the world becomes smaller, connecting to those around it, can lead to great networking opportunities or friendships and the best way to connect is to learn a foreign language. There are many ways to take on this challenge starting with the simplest method of downloading a language learning app, Like DuoLingo, which is free and so easy to use. Using an app. Is great because you can practice and learn whenever and wherever you want; at home or at a coffee shop and it can be a great way to maximize your time during waiting periods, like before an appointment or on your commute (among other things you are already doing on your commute). You can also join a foreign language course or a school and benefit from learning with a teacher and peers. But I would argue the best way to learn a language is to find someone local who speaks another language and do an exchange. Meet once a week and exchange their time teaching you a language and offer to teach them something in return. If you are in a big city, chances are there are so many people from many different places looking to improve their English. That’s how I learned Hebrew when I moved abroad. I posted in a Facebook Group that I wanted to learn Hebrew. Gal answered the call and we met once a week at this incredible French Bakery and that’s how I learned Hebrew and her, English. The experience was great and a lot of fun. This extra-curricular activity is obviously one that is challenging but the rewards are fulfilling. It’s something you put on your resume and will make you stand out. Your employer and international clients will surely be impressed and it's a step closer to gaining career opportunities and chances to relocate. Not to mention the skills you work at when learning a language like memory, discipline, and confidence. By the way, the best languages to learn are Mandarin, Spanish and Arabic because of their countries’ growing economies and the number of speakers.

Skills Earned: Memory, Multitasking, Cultural Awareness

Join a Sports Team

Hear me out on this one. Joining a sports team as an adult is one of the ultimate best experiences one can have. That may be an extreme statement, but I love being on a competitive basketball team at age 29. I have made a group of friends and the nostalgia of being back on my high school courts is a great feeling. But it’s more than that because playing and strategizing with others towards winning has enriched my teamwork, communication and decisiveness skills. Team sports plays happen fast and therefore require to snap effective decisions and the ability to communicate with others successfully. Whether it’s to pass to a teammate for the assist or decide to go and make that goal, you are making use of your critical thinking. Another great perk to playing on a sports team as an adult is that people are there to enjoy and therefore there’s no judgment during the games. As the fear of judgment that you might have felt as a kid on a team because you were up for a scholarship or the pressure of friends watching you play, is simply not there this benefits towards your confidence skills. And an extra plug for joining a team and reading more of my content, physical activity has many of its own benefits of productive side effects, like sharpening your mind from released endorphins or increasing your life expectancy (sounds a bit much, but it’s true, read here).

Skills Earned: Teamwork, Critical-thinking, Confidence

Participate in a club, society or organization

Hone in on one of your interests and join a related club or society. This way you are entering a community where you can network and connect while engaging in one of your favorite topics. If you love to read, join a book club; all about technology, attend tech meetups, if you're looking for charitable experience go and volunteer through an organization and if you dreadfully enjoy the occasional scotch, dress up and get to that scotch tasting weekly get together. There are so many online resources to find local societies and there are platforms built on making these live connections. Meetup is a great platform to use as it helps you find groups that host events for networking and meeting people in your local community who share your interests. My interest in Jewish Mysticism or Kabbala led me to join a group of students and young professionals to learn about it. We meet once a week through an organization where we engage in mystical topics. Discussions can get passionate and this leads to a great opportunity to exercise my problem solving and public speaking skills. Clubs also allow you to take on leadership roles by offering mentoring, hosting your own events, and initiating engaging discussions. Take your interests and make them productive.

Skills Earned: Leadership, Problem-Solving, Public Speaking, People Skills

Study or Intern Abroad

If stars align in your favor and you have the resources to spend time in another country, go for it, it’s a great opportunity. At the age of 23, I decided to move to Israel. Without a specific time in mind, I was going to take advantage from the start. Besides learning a new language (shoutout to the second paragraph), I learned how to adapt to new surroundings and learn and engage in an incredibly unfamiliar culture. You will constantly be meeting new people and each interaction exercises your intercultural communication and multidisciplinary thinking skills. You are learning nuances of cultural norms which require you to draw in on your own thoughts and ideologies while being aware of the new ones around you during your interactions.I have learned so much about the local culture through interactions with taxi drivers, shop owners, and these types of strangers I engaged with frequently. Learning the differences of an unfamiliar culture broadens your understanding, tolerance, and appreciation for them because you are learning them from real people and real experiences that you can’t get from a Wikipedia page. Being abroad also gives you international experience and strengthens your ability to adapt which is a skill any employer will be satisfied with. This experience also opportunities you with global networking and reaching outlets and connections you wouldn’t be able to achieve from home. Networking in another country is worthwhile because those connections can become relevant and beneficial even years later when you keep in touch. Overall, living in a different country for a year or more offers so many productive skills to bring back home.

Skills Earned: Cultural Awareness, Adaptability, Multidisciplinary Thinking

Embrace

You can build a great resume on the skills you gained outside of the workplace. So, take a lesson from your former childhood self and start filling your schedule with at least one ‘extracurricular-like’ activity and not only will you immensely enjoy the engagement and challenges but you’re giving yourself an outlet to further practice and naturally gain great skills.

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