Connecting on Campus
Why should you get involved on campus?
I can’t answer that question for you, but I can list some reasons why it would be helpful.
I thought long and hard about why students should join clubs and organizations, and reflected back on my own experiences.
I wanted to make friends and lasting connections, feel more comfortable on campus and be a part of something greater than myself.
As I write this blog, flashbacks of my freshman year keep resurfacing. I felt lonely and disconnected from everyone on campus. I didn’t know who to talk to, or where to find people with similar interests as me.
If it weren’t for me being a talkative person, I probably wouldn’t have made friends as soon as I did; however, each person is different.
There are tons of shy people who aren’t as outgoing as I am and willing talk to strangers. It’s OK to be that type of person.
One of the reasons I advise people to get involved is to learn more about themselves. You can find out what makes you happy, as well as evaluate your strengths, weaknesses and future goals. In the process, you may discover things about yourself that may have gone unnoticed.
I’ll use myself as an example. Before I joined the CCI Ambassadors, I had no idea how to speak to large crowds of people. Yes, I have taken a public speaking course, but that felt so different from when I was telling my story to several potential students and their parents.
I learned so much about myself that day.
You might learn people skills from participating in clubs. I believe interacting with others is a necessary skill to have.
You’ll be able to interact with diverse groups of people and build new relationships. Student organizations are different from clubs. I think clubs are more about personal interests, like a sewing club for example.
Organizations relate more to your major; by joining them, you‘ll be surrounded by people in your field of study who can help you grow. In my field of study, teamwork is very important. Can you imagine one person filming a news show alone?
I shudder imagining it.
Organizations put you in situations where you’re required to take advice from others, but also give your own. The best advice I can give you, or anyone, is to use the skills you’re learning in class.
As you might’ve guessed, I’m a broadcasting major. Organizations like TV2 allow me to use the skills I’m learning from my professors in the real world.
Join the groups that interest you, and remember that it’s OK to bounce from one group to the next. Even though I’ve suggested that you get involved with groups around campus, don’t overload yourself.
This is a current problem I’m working through right now. I got heavily involved with student media and other clubs on campus.
Eventually, I had to drop one.
The reason is because I want to keep my primary focus on my classes.
In the words of Dan Millman: “I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything … at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.”
You have so many years ahead of you, so don’t pile everything on at once or you’ll feel the weight eventually.