The Importance of Being Plugged In
The Importance of Being Plugged In
Besides the usual grind of academics, a large part of college is networking and meeting new people. In other words, it’s good to stay “plugged in,” whether it is within clubs, social groups or greek life. Although being plugged in can be super fun, it can equally be daunting, whether you are an underclassman or not. When someone is entering school as a freshman, there can be a lot of opportunities to join new clubs and groups to get involved (think about the first time you went to Tiger Prowl). But, the options can be somewhat overwhelming at the same time, potentially putting pressure on a student. Even upperclassmen can feel that it is “too late” to get involved if they didn’t during their freshman year, leading to an uncomfortable social pressure. That being said, getting involved to meet new people is vitally important for a couple of reasons. I’ve outlined the top three below:
Opportunity to engage in your interests
First off, it can be really fun to find people that are like-minded and interested in the same things as you, bringing the opportunity of new friendships! Although there is some pressure, it is good to remember that those around you feel that same trepidation with meeting new people! Plus, odds are that if it is a group related to your studies, you’ll end up in some classes with the same people, making the dynamic more relaxed and easier to form relationships.
Second, getting involved in something you enjoy will likely decrease stress and improve your work in all facets. From experience, one way to manage stress is by attaining balance in your schedule, because if you can find yourself doing lots of different things you enjoy, then a weight could be lifted off of one specific thing, such as academics. Plus, I think it can be easier to build a type of daily momentum if your routine is established with new clubs you’re plugged into, and activities can even provide you something to look forward to every day.
Resume, resume, resume
This one isn’t as fun as making friends, but working on your resume is obviously important. Future employers are looking for what makes you stand out, so having cool/interesting experiences can be something that pops off of the page. Involvement in clubs and organizations gives employers a sneak peak into your passions, time management ability and unique skills, especially if you hold leadership positions within these groups. On top of that, if you enjoy your club/group enough to talk about it enthusiastically, then it will become an absolutely vital tool in an interview!
A place for accountability and growth
Look, college is challenging pretty much any way you cut it, and having a group/space that is in your corner is really important. For more on the value of surrounding yourself with good listeners, check out Taylor’s post. With this in mind, you can’t tell someone what’s wrong if there isn’t a consistent someone to go to. Therefore, a group of people to be there for you when things get hard is just as valuable as whatever the group is intended for in the first place.
Overall, it took me until my senior year to really find a consistent place. It wasn’t exactly for the lack of trying, as I definitely went for more lofty positions and such my freshman year that didn’t work out. But I let that stick with me for pretty much all of my sophomore and junior years, keeping me from getting involved with things both within school and out. Now that I am involved in something consistent and fun on campus (my lovely work at the Pearce Center), due to the work itself and the awesome new friends I’ve made, I feel less stressed and more thankful for my college experience as a whole. Hopefully you can find a great place to plug in as well, and if you’re looking for some sort of next step, I would absolutely recommend talking to students and faculty within your major first.
If that doesn’t get you anywhere, looking into Tiger Quest can show you all that Clemson has to offer you!
By: Will Gordon