Extracurriculars vs. Student Jobs: What are helping us more in the long run

October 6, 2016

In results driven NOVA, students do everything that they can in order to get a step above their peers. Motivated students do extra-curricular activities in order to get that step. Robinson offers hundreds of clubs and sports in order to keep the peace, boost students’ confidence, as well as their morale. Other students opt to instead forgo the extracurriculars such as debate club, and instead go for some extra money by getting a job. They learn money management, as well as business smarts. So the question has to be raised… Which is better: A job or extracurricular activities?  

When it comes to working, students would argue for the merits of learning real world business skills while filling their pockets with a little extra cash. Business Insider boils it down to this: when teens have jobs, they gain experience, learn a new skill, and begin to build networks. Well paying jobs in the modern world are a rarity. Nationally, students think that straight out of college or highschool, they will be offered a job. In addition to all that, Time Magazine’s Melanie Howard says, “…our overscheduled, pampered kids need part-time jobs to learn humility… Living in the Washington suburbs, I see a culture where elite sports, study-abroad programs and internships have replaced crappy part-time and summer jobs for upper-middle-class students. Business owners don’t want to hire someone who cannot relate to the clientele. In the working world, it’s usually a catch-22. In order to have a job, one needs to have experience. In order for one to have experience, they need a job.This is where being a high school worker comes in. If a person were a business owner, and had to take a chance on a new worker, who would you choose? They would most likely pick who already knows the ins and outs of working, who has references and time management skills, or the recently graduated sports extraordinaire? And with less than 32% of high school students working, a large number of business owners, the answer is simple. They would choose those who they know have enough experience to help their company. When a poll was sent out to the Robinson community, a staggering 82% said they would hire an experienced worker over a high level athlete.

That isn’t so much the case, though, argues a number of sources. Having athletes who can work will only increase how well a company can perform, but also how they interact with others. Athletes are  a different type of person. They are much more used to working with other people as well as pushing themselves to higher limits. Business insider reports that “…economists have shown that former student athletes go onto earn significantly more than their non-sports-playing peers — between 5% and 15% more…” The fact is that student athletes make up not necessarily better workers, but better leaders. While the work ethic and mentality is there, the ability, or experience, usually isn’t there. However, once the athlete has enough experience, statistics will generally show that “…fifty-five years after high school, they earned more than nonathletes, and they were more likely to assume positions in upper management.” However, doesn’t mean that everyone who plays sports will have an upperhand. There is a big difference between team-sports and individual sports. A study by BBC found that “Often the skills learned during team-based sports translate differently to the workplace than individual sports. Those accustomed to teamwork can be better at influencing others, performing sales functions and taking criticism… On the other hand, individual-focused sports such as running, skiing, swimming often develop stronger motivation, leadership traits and stamina than someone who has not endured rigorous training…” If you’re thinking about quitting your sport to follow some other extra curricular, you may want to think again.

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