Your Involvement in College Matters
By Robbie Lang
Let’s Talk About Involvement
You may have heard it already, but involvement in college is important! There is much more to college than just attending classes. Research suggests that students who are more actively involved in campus life
- tend to earn better grades
- report higher levels of satisfaction
- and are more likely to graduate than their less-involved peers
This makes sense intuitively; the more involved you are, the more connections you’ll make with students, faculty and staff. The more meaningful connections you make, the more integrated into the campus community you become. Your sense of belonging increases. You say yes to more opportunities that come your way. You connect with even more people in the process.
Ultimately, how involved you are in college is up to you. Even if your time is limited and you have responsibilities outside of school as many students do, consider finding one way you can get involved on your campus that is meaningful to you.
There are numerous ways to get involved on most campuses. Oftentimes, there are dozens, if not hundreds of student clubs you can join. Peruse your school’s list of student clubs online and see if any pique your interest. Attend a club meeting or two and evaluate if it’s a good fit for you.
There are also a number of other avenues that may not be clubs per say, but have similar structure and benefits. Some examples include:
- student government
- the college newspaper or radio station
- intramural sports
- campus theater and dance groups
Want to get off campus with fellow students and serve in the community? Many schools offer one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities that are open to everyone.
Want to be more present on campus and get paid? Be on the lookout for on-campus student job opportunities. Most schools post these positions in the spring for the following academic year, but it’s not unusual to see postings throughout the year. Show up to your interview with a positive attitude and an eagerness to learn and serve; your interviewers will notice it.
What Are You Interested In?
Sometimes so many involvement choices can be overwhelming. If that’s the case for you, just start by considering your natural interests and passions. Seriously, what interests you? It sounds so simple (and it is), but answering this question is useful. The more naturally interested you are in something, the more you’ll enjoy it and stick with it.
Interested in creative writing, for instance? Check to see if there is a writing club at your school. If not, consider starting one! With every well-established group, there was always that first person who got it off the ground.
Pushing Outside Your Comfort Zone
Of course, it’s also good to stretch yourself and expand your horizons. Are there activities you’re interested in but are outside your comfort zone? Maybe you’re not sure if you’d be good at it? Throw those concerns to the wind and jump in!
College is a great time to try new things out and explore budding interests. If something is challenging for you, it’s very likely you’ll experience more personal growth than if you stayed within the lines of your comfort zone.
Time is the biggest inhibiting factor for most students when it comes to their level of campus involvement. That dance group you’re interested in meets Tuesdays, Thursdays at 3pm, which conflicts with your off campus job. Many students face this dilemma, juggling multiple commitments outside of school such as work (to help pay for college), family, church and community groups.
This is understandable. You can’t do everything, but don’t give up. It’s usually still possible to find little ways to get involved.
Start small. Check out your student activities campus calendar and pick one or two that work with your schedule. Invite a friend to join you! See if you can do this a few times each academic term and make an effort to meet new people at every event. You’ll quickly expand your campus community.
Getting involved in campus life at your school is important and worthwhile. There are numerous immediate and long-term benefits associated with campus involvement.
Even if your free time is limited, find one way to get involved at your school that aligns with your interests. Make campus involvement a priority and you will experience these benefits firsthand.
As an enrolled student, you are already a member of your campus community, but getting involved in campus life is a catalyst that helps maximize the benefits and outcomes of this membership. Don’t miss out!
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