College can be daunting, especially as a freshman. You’re moving out of the home you’ve known your entire life, moving away from your family and friends, and starting a new life in a new place. College is a lot different than high school, and the change, even though an exciting one, can be a big adjustment. One of the best ways to jump right in and tackle the adjustment head-on is by getting involved. Whether it be intramural or club sports, a university club or organization, an on-campus internship, or even undergraduate research, involvement allows you to meet other students on campus and explore your passions at the same time.
1. It looks good on a resume
Not that resume building should be the driving force behind being involved, but when you apply for jobs in the future, employers love to see involved job prospects. It lets them know that you are able to balance other activities with your course load and that you have a good work ethic. If you’re involved in a volunteer-based program, it shows employers that you value service and giving back as well.
2. It helps you make connections for the future
Involvement is a great way to network with a variety of different types of people at your college. Not only will it allow you to meet students outside your major, but you will likely have adult advisors who can serve as great sources of information and inspiration for your future endeavors. I have met some of my best friends being involved in different organizations on Clemson’s campus as well as adult leaders who have pushed me to do new things.
3. It gives you an appreciation for your school
In most cases, university extra-curricular groups are volunteer groups. This is great because it allows you an opportunity to give back to a university that has given to you in so many ways by providing you can education. Since being at Clemson, I have served as a member of the Clemson University Guide Association as well as on the Student Alumni Council. These have been two of my favorite ways to give back to Clemson as a volunteer. As a member of CUGA, I serve Clemson as a tour guide, giving campus tours to prospective students. I am able to tell potential incoming students about my experience at Clemson and portray the university in a positive light to them. As a member of SAC, I help to facilitate all of Clemson’s traditionally historic events like the Clemson Ring Ceremony, the Welcome Back Festival, Cocky’s Funeral, Master Teacher, and the senior ball! It has been one of the most rewarding ways to serve Clemson, and I’ve met some of the best people I know along the way.
4. You learn time management skills
Managing your course load can be tough on its own, but learning to balance that with other involvement can actually help you create an effective schedule for yourself. If you only focus your time on your major studies, it can cause you to burn out or let the extra free time get the best of you. Sometimes, when studying is your only responsibility as a student, you develop the “I’ll definitely have time to do that later” mindset. Even though your studies should for sure be your top priority, getting involved will allow you to block out specific times for it in your schedule. For example, if I know I have a campus tour at 9 AM, it will force me to get out of bed, give the tour, and then have time to head to the library to block out a couple of hours for studying before my afternoon class. That way, I’m getting a balance of involvement and my studies to keep my mind engaged and not burnt out on one thing.
5. Your communication skills will improve
For the most part, no matter what field you go into, you’re going to have to interact with other people in the working world. One of the most important times that your “people skills” will matter is in job interviews. I have had to take part in an interview process for every extra-curricular I am involved in here at Clemson. I have gained insight from each interview that has helped me to do better in the next one. Even if you aren’t a “people person,” getting involved will force you to be, and this will benefit you greatly in the long-run.
There is no bigger piece of advice that I would give to incoming college students than the importance of getting involved. Even if it’s just one extra group or club outside of your major, involvement will not be something that you regret when looking back on your college days. It has enhanced my college experience in so many ways and is something that I recommend for everyone.
Written By: Caroline Cavendish