Attending college does a lot of things for you as an individual; starting with building the bridge from childhood to adulthood, to expanding your post graduation career options. When high school teachers and even your parents mention anything college-related, it is always about how you need to declare a major so that you can enroll in the right classes and learn all you need to know to succeed in the “real world.” No one ever brings up how there is so much more to the college experience than what happens inside the classroom… at least they didn’t for me.
I spent my entire freshman year of college packing up my bag Thursday nights to have it ready to go home for the weekend right after my Friday morning class. I went that entire year missing out on so many opportunities simply because I had no idea where to start. Now, four years later, I am proud to say that I have served as a student success leader for freshman, a peer leader trainer where I taught a class about leadership, a resident assistant in one of the dorms on campus, a college ambassador where I represent my school and an assistant coordinator for a writing job in the marketing department of the university I attend.
Getting involved on your college campus has so many perks. Whether it be in an academic club, intramural sport, leadership position, or an on-campus job, all college campuses offer endless opportunities for involvement. I am telling you, once you stick your foot in the door, you will never take it out. Here are my top five benefits of how getting involved will MAKE your college experience:
Become a leader on your campus.Getting involved can lead you to becoming a leader on your college campus. Being a leader for your school not only benefits the student body, but benefits you as an individual as well. Leadership positions can help give you a sense of responsibility, build confidence, sharpen your problem-solving skills and build your personal and professional network. When first accepting leadership positions I was offered, I was made aware that there was going to be a high level of responsibility put on me because my team and supervisor were all relying on me to pull my weight and give my all to the organizations/jobs. After being an SSL, a peer leader trainer, an RA, etc. my leadership skills have now transitioned over to my current job and how I work with others.
Meet your closest friends.When I say this is the best part of getting involved… I mean it. Like I said before, I was going home to hangout with my mom every single weekend during my freshman year of college. Can you say lame? Because LAMEEEE. Moving away from your high school friends that you have known forever can be scary, but the best way to find new friends is by getting involved in organizations where you know there will be people who have similar interests as you and are there for the same reasons. When I was offered the RA position, I had no idea who any of the people were on my staff. After one team-bonding event, I knew I was where I was meant to be because Adam and Keondra, my now two closest friends, made me feel at loved. After I met those two, I never wanted to go back home. I had to start forcing myself to go home to spend time with my mom because I just didn’t want to miss out on late-night Walmart runs to get snacks for our weekly Mario Kart tournaments. If you are ever nervous about making friends, join a club… I swear you won’t regret it
Build your resume.Freshman year is not too soon to be thinking about layering up that resume for future job interviews. As senior year rolls around (and let me tell you, it rolls around FAST), you will want to have as much as you can on your resume because future employers will be much more likely to hire you if they see that you have more experience than another applicant. Getting yourself involved will ultimately make you a stronger and more well-rounded candidate for job opportunities including internships.
Develop personal skills.Joining clubs or taking on a leadership role on your campus will help you learn so much about yourself. By getting involved, you can not only develop skills specific to your career path, but also improve your overall leadership, interpersonal skills and self-confidence. The management skills you learn while involved in certain organizations will be extremely useful in the future when job-hunting. Through the positions I have been involved in, I have developed a wide array of people-skills, organization mechanisms and leadership qualities; better yet, I have truly found and learned so much about myself that I feel more confident and calm in social situations than I ever have before.
It’s a blast!When going to college, academics should be your first priority because whether you’re thinking about it or not, you are paying to go there and good grades and a hard work-ethic will get you far post-graduation; however, academics should not be the only thing that is important to you. It’s important to make time in your schedule to have fun and do things that you enjoy. Getting involved on your college campus is the perfect way to add some excitement in between classes and homework. When I became a resident assistant (RA) in one of the dorms on my campus, my co-workers and I basically had the same schedule when it came to RA business, so when we weren’t making rounds through the building, we would be sitting in the RA office together playing Sims. If that doesn’t sound like one of the greatest nights spent while in college, I don’t know what does!
I hope this has given you some motivation and insight into getting involved on your college campus. This time in your life is an opportunity to meet new people, grow your leadership skills, build your resume, learn about yourself and develop socially and emotionally. Getting involved on my college campus has done all of those things for me and if you make the commitment, you too will see the difference it will make in your college years. I’d love to hear from others who have found the benefits of getting involved, so please share your stories and comments!
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