Extracurricular work allows for best learning tool in school

I’ve come to realize that I hate the term “extracurricular activity.” Recently, a Gannon University survey asked seniors to list, approximately, how much time they spent on class, studying and other various hour-consuming activities.

Alex "Q" Bieler, assistant sports editor

When it came to the extracurricular schedule, I realized that a massive portion of my life for the past few years has been spent working on these “extra” organizations. My discovery drove me to ask just a single question:

When do these activities stop being “extra” and become the main focus of your collegiate career?

It didn’t take long before I recognized that I’ve been placing my responsibilities at The Gannon Knight, 90.5 WERG, the Schuster Theatre and my job with the Sports Information Desk before my classes for a while now.

The reason why extracurriculars come first is the same reason why I enjoyed my internship with the Erie Times-News over the summer – they’re real. As important as classes are, they rarely amount to more than a preparatory learning process simulation. The extracurricular activities actually feel like work.

But still, I do wonder at times if I may have overbooked myself. I, despite the occasional complaint, actually do enjoy working at these various groups, but the lack of sleep does become rather draining after a while.

Then I receive a reminder of why the grind is worth it.

I have my own show called Catch 20-Q (I wonder where that name came from) on WERG from 9 p.m. to midnight on Thursdays, where I essentially play whatever I want. My last show just so happened to land on St. Patrick’s Day. While I was vexed that I couldn’t be out, I knew that the show must still go on.

Near the end of Catch 20-Q, I played a live version of Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis.” In the following talk break, I spoke about how much I enjoyed being able to play songs that would normally never be heard on radio and that if I could get one person to start actively searching new music, then I’ve done my job.

Immediately after my talk break, someone called the studio. He simply thanked me, telling me how nice it was to hear someone play something so obscure. I never got that man’s name, but his message won’t be forgotten. The next day I noticed a message on the wall of the WERG Facebook page – some fan felt it necessary to praise my show, calling it the highlight of her week.

The extracurriculars may be eating away my schedule, but such sentiments really remind me of why I enjoy them so much. I choose to do it for myself, but being reminded about how I can touch others through the work provides that little “extra.”

ALEX BIELER

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