Are non-medical activities encouraged during my undergraduate experience?
Tweet….Tweettweettweettweet! That’s the sound of the drum majors whistle at most HBCU’s as halftime starts. You stare in awe as the 200+ piece band begins to put on a show that is high energy and pumping! As this progresses, you notice the multitude of Greek lettered organizations represented. As you progress through your first years of undergrad, you will no doubt be introduced to many extracurricular activities, some of which will attract you and some you won’t have any interest in at all. The question you will inevitably ask yourself is, “Can I join without sacrificing my future goals?”
The answer, emphatically, is yes! Extracurricular activities do more than provide you an avenue to pursue passions on yours. They also teach you how to manage your time and help you refine your learning skills, two very important lessons you will need in this age of medicine, where balancing your work and personal life is important. How does that happen, you may wonder. Good question. Marching in a Historically Black College marching band is more than just playing a few songs and dancing to the music. It takes perseverance, dedication and a substantial time commitment. The average bandmember spends between thirty five to forty hours per week preparing for that 812 minute show you watched. They play the music from memory. The dance routine and matching formations also are learned during this time, some bands also change this every week to provide variety for their fans. This is in addition to the time they spend studying for their normal class. Greek lettered organizations, particularly at HBCU’s also have a significant time commitment. This is includes in community service/outreach, being involved in the administrative aspect of their organization, step practice etc… Each of those duties does require time, which becomes your most precious commodity. I am not speaking in hypothetical sentences though, this has been my experience. I marched in a college band, joined my fraternity and still graduated in four years. It isn’t an impossible undertaking and can be immensely rewarding experience. But my experiences taught me the importance of time management and enabled me to develop the skills to learn information efficiently, something that I am not sure I would have learned without that exposure.