Monday, January 3, 2011

Enriching Your College Experience

So, why bother getting involved in college? As a college student you already have loads of test, projects, papers and homework to do on a weekly basis.  A lot of students also have a part-time job to cover the rising costs of post-secondary education.  Getting involved in college—especially early on—builds your resume, teaches you time management skills and enriches your college experience overall.  Also, college is about having fun and not all work, so getting involved is a great way to meet new friends. 

Right now the job market is down and will probably remain so for the next few years.  Recent graduates will also be competing with seasoned professionals who may have been recently laid off.  Not the most fun thing to think about, (as a senior nearing graduation, it’s terrifying) but getting involved during your undergraduate years can set you above other candidates.  My best advice (or the advice I’ve gained from speaking to career counselors and employers) is to get involved early on in an organization or two and try to move your way up to be an officer, on the executive board or even president.  Being a member of 10 different clubs is great, but are you really doing anything in those clubs? Potential employers will favor being an officer in one organization (and having some responsibility) than attending many club meetings a month and not contributing much.   Sure, getting good grades is important, (Scholarship is one of the Four Pillars of Greek Life at KU) but getting involved is just as important in finding a job.  Being involved will also foster good relationships with other peers, advisors and/or faculty/staff members, which will always come in handy for advice, letters of recommendation and networking. 

Aside from being a great resume builder, being involved in college has taught me great time management skills, which is applicable to school and life.  Being an active member of my chapter, taking a full load of classes, a member of the Panhellenic Executive Board, the co-executive director of another campus organization called Rock Chalk Revue, a part-time job and all the stress that comes with it has taught me to manage my time well.  Being proactive and having a neatly scheduled week allows me to get all my work done and maybe some time to watch Glee or Gossip Girl.  If not, there is always DVR.

I spend approximately three to four hours in the Student Involvement and Leadership Center a day and countless hours in the Kansas Union at night.  Yeah, I’ve missed out on some quality TV or relaxation time, but I don’t regret it for a second.  Being involved has enriched my life in so many ways including managing stress, a busy schedule and giving me an awesome resume.  It sounds really cheesy, but I’ve honestly met my best friends through being involved on campus.  I’ve met friends who share my need to be hyper-involved, my values and my goals. 

Yes, being involved can be tough. Invest in a reliable calendar/planner (I’m currently obsessed with the Uncalendar®) and from time to time invest in a yummy caffeinated beverage. 

You’re only in college for four years, so make the best of your time and get involved.

- Meghan is a senior Delta Gamma, majoring in Journalism

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