Guest-written by Diana DopheideLike many other first-year college students, I was a little nervous to get involved on campus. I knew I wanted to be involved in the campus newspaper, but I wanted to get some in-class writing experience first. Plus, meeting so many organizations during my first week on campus was a bit overwhelming, as there were so many options! I wasn’t even sure where to start. In my second year of college, my friend Alli, who was also my writing tutor, knew how much I loved reading, and she encouraged me to get involved with the book club that she started. I was unsure about it at first—while I loved reading, I had never been a part of a book club before, but after my first meeting, I decided I loved it, and I couldn’t wait to attend more sessions. The fall semester is right around the corner, and you’re going to meet lots of new organizations, activities, and clubs at on-campus events. There are so many benefits to getting involved on campus early and often throughout your college career! You’ll meet new people, develop leadership skills, and learn more about what interests you the most. Want to be a part of your school’s clubs and organizations? Here are five great reasons to get involved this year: 1. Meeting New People I went to a mostly commuter campus, so for me, participating in clubs and activities was a great way to meet new people, who soon became friends, with similar interests outside of my classes. I was a part of my campus’ student-run newspaper, and met so many other students who weren’t in my major classes, but who were also interested in getting journalism and writing experience. I was able to grow my personal and professional network while doing more of what I love: writing! 2. Leadership Development Maybe YOU are the next president or captain of an organization! Getting involved in clubs and activities on campus are perfect opportunities to gain leadership experience, and add skills to your resume that you can talk about in an interview for a future internship or job. For the campus newspaper, I was elected to serve as the president after being recognized as the most active member of the club. After being involved in the on-campus book club that my friend Alli started, when she was preparing to graduate, she asked me to take over the club! While job-searching and interviewing, several employers mentioned that they were interested in me because of my leadership skills from being the president of two clubs. For example, recruiters and hiring managers asked me to describe situations where I worked with a team or independently, and I had plenty to share from my experience with the newspaper. While I worked independently on my articles, I also worked with the other students to revise their work and give feedback. 3. Learning Beyond Your Coursework Another benefit to clubs and activities is that there are so many available that are related to different interests, majors, and creative passions, so there’s truly something for everyone! I was a Communications major with a focus on journalism, and while I got experience in the classroom with writing, working with the campus newspaper really helped me to further expand my education by being able to apply what I was learning in the classroom. While the book club was perfect for my love of reading, I was also able to build my critical thinking skills in book discussions with others. 4. Time Management Being involved in any club or activity, especially as a leader, involves setting aside time from your classes, homework, and other obligations. For me, this was a great way to learn how to manage my time efficiently and effectively—a soft skill that many employers look for when hiring for a job or internship. At the campus newspaper, I was often running around attending on-campus events and interviewing faculty, staff, and students, in addition to writing my stories and of course, attending classes. Being so busy really helped me to develop effective time management skills by organizing and planning out my workload and schedule. 5. Reducing Stress Let’s be honest—college can be stressful at times, especially for first-year students! On my campus, a lot of the clubs offered free events for all students, even if they weren’t a member of the club, to watch a movie or listen to a lecture from a guest speaker. For me and many others, these events helped to take my mind off the stress of class, homework, and exams for a while and allowed me to relax! I really enjoyed my experiences with both of my clubs, and they helped me to disconnect from the stresses of my classes so that I could do something that I was really passionate about. You’ll likely attend a few Student Activities Fairs this semester, where you’ll meet organizations and clubs on campus. What are your current interests? How about your post-graduation goals? Start by asking yourself these questions, and then get involved on campus. Truthfully, I never expected my on-campus involvement to be so beneficial and worthwhile, and I’m so glad that I got involved when I did.
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