OPINION: Getting involved

Charlie Needles

If you’re immersed in student culture, then the chances that you’ll stay enrolled are higher than students who stay at home and don’t come to campus except for classes.

Student government elections just closed and club rush is over, but it’s not too late to get involved on campus. Meeting up with your class project groups and visiting your professor in their office hours can bring you closer to feeling like you’re a part of a community.

Finding a campus activity late is better than not joining at all. In fact, you’ll make friends that will stand by you when you need them. Being in college isn’t just about grades. It’s about learning how to navigate life as an adult. Going to classes and performing well is a preparation for a career but socializing on campus can teach you how to network and build your communication skills for a life outside of schooling.

If you don’t get involved on campus, you’re missing out on half of the college experience. Students weren’t meant to hide themselves away just to score well on exams. College is a place for you explore your passions and hobbies, find new ones, and make connections that can give you an edge once you get out. Even if your grades slip a little for stretching your schedule to include a club, professionals looking at your resume will be pleased to see a diversity of activities. It’s better to get B’s and C’s when you’re also adding to what you can do outside the classroom. It sets you apart from people who don’t take risks or don’t think to put that on their resume.

If you’re too studious to even consider taking time away from your classes, then make appointments to go see your professors in their offices. Building a relationship with your professor can lead to career advice you might not find elsewhere. Having a mentor as a professor is only ever a good thing. Sometimes a professor can suggest a research project for an independent study or connect you to an internship.

We’re social creatures and we need to live that way. If you have anxiety about getting into new situations or hanging out with people you don’t know, talk to someone you trust and ask them to take you to their campus activity. Think of it as a practice run and push yourself to talk to someone new.

There’s a group for any interest and you can find them on the university website. Even though the semester is half over, you can still hop in and start getting to know people. If you want to take it slow, come back from spring break and decide which part of campus life is right for you, then you can commit in the fall.

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