Q: My daughter has the chance to play on the varsity tennis team at her college. She is a sophomore. There are very few sophomores (ever) who have made the team. I am wondering if we should even let her since her studies are quite demanding. I have heard that employers really don't care about extracurricular activities for recent grads. I was thinking that she should get a part-time job instead. What are your thoughts?
A. I am no parenting expert. My kids would be delighted to confirm that fact. However, I do have an opinion. For some students, there isn't a choice. The job would be required because college is so expensive and every dime counts. If there is a choice, however, then I would encourage your daughter to play tennis. The next few years may be the only years she has the opportunity to play a competitive sport. She has her whole life to work!
Playing a sport teaches participants valuable life skills, which can be applied to a professional role in the workplace. Resiliency is incredibly important. Every career has disappointments. Learning to cope with frustration is important. No journey is perfect and no career is perfect.
Being part of a team is also an important life experience. Encouraging teammates in their success and supporting teammates when they have been defeated is a critical experience. Enjoying a win is a wonderful experience, particularly when a win can be shared with teammates. However, learning to be humble and gracious after a win is also a trait that will serve your daughter well.
Your daughter's time management skills will be tested. Playing a varsity sport while balancing academic responsibilities will be a challenge.
Lastly, scheduled physical activity is smart for all of us. Physical health and mental health are so intertwined.
I think prospective employers would impressed by your daughter's talents, especially if she enjoys success in the classroom and on the tennis court.