The Importance of Being Intentional
When I entered my freshman year of college, I didn’t know a single school tradition, fight song or even anyone attending Clemson. As an out-of-state student beginning a new chapter of life, I found myself eager for the endless opportunities, relationships and memories that would flourish over the next four years. Although it was not as easy of a transition as I thought, I immediately began getting involved on campus and meeting new faces in just about any way I could. I quickly learned, however, that it didn’t matter how many organizations I joined, how many people I met and how many experiences I had, there was more to it. I had learned the importance of being intentional.
The core principle in intentionality is that every act of consciousness we perform, every experience that we have, is purposeful. It is very easy to know familiar faces on campus or to be a member of an organization or to have an internship, but it takes more to create lasting relationships with people, be a voice and leader within your organization and go the extra mile for your internship. It is this single adjective that has truly transformed my relationships, experiences and future self for the better. There are two specific situations where being intentional has enhanced my personal and professional experiences.
1. Be Intentional in College Organizations
Attending a university that has over 500 organizations on campus, there is potential for every person to have their place. Whether it be student government, Greek life or an athletic team, I have joined an array of organizations that each impacted my life differently. Within each of these organizations, however, it is very easy to just show up and do the bare minimum. And there is no problem with being a general member of an organization … but you are capable of so much more. Have a conversation with a person you’ve never met, stay the extra few minutes at practice to put in extra work or apply for that leadership position even if you fear you won’t get it. Put in the extra work and be there for those around you by going the extra mile. There are innumerable opportunities within college organizations and who knows, it may lead you to a new passion, a future career or a life-long relationship that you may have never discovered without you consciously being in the moment and fully devoting yourself to everything you do.
2. Be Intentional in Internships
During my freshman year of college, I learned how aggressively competitive internships can be, especially as an 18-year-old with no experience and no idea what career path I wanted to pursue. Despite all of this, I decided to apply for one. Even after the internship coordinator explained that I would be the youngest and least experienced intern, I decided to take the position anyway. Immediately intimidated by the other junior- and senior-aged interns who had had several internships and were preparing for graduation in one short year, I quickly realized that I should take this opportunity to create relationships with and learn from these more experienced students. Asking for help from someone, spending extra hours at the office, planning social events outside of work and even keeping up with these relationships to this day taught me even more of the importance of intentionality. These interns are now working at CBS in New York City and running the communications departments at major businesses, and they have been the reason that I was able to get internships later down the road. Putting forth the extra effort and making time to create a genuine relationship with these once-strangers has impacted my life and my future career immensely.
As I reflect on my Clemson experience and all the amazing opportunities I’ve taken advantage of, I’ve realized how valuable this lesson is: Be conscious. Be purposeful. Be intentional.
It will help you in more ways than you could imagine.
Written by: Mattie Lee