The importance of getting involved

By Keirsten Heckel, Student Writer

Every new student comes to college and has one thing in mind; finally being independent. You are away from your parents, you are on your own, and there is no one there to tell you what to do anymore. You can go wherever you want, hang out with who ever you want, and you can even eat cake for breakfast. But new students get so caught up in finally being independent that they lose track of what is really important: being engaged in activities that can help their future.

When I was a freshman, I didn’t understand why I was in college. I knew it was something that I had to do to get a good job and lead a successful life, but I had the mindset of “I don’t need to put in much effort now. I’m just a freshman, I have lots of time to do well and get involved.” In retrospect, I could have put forth more effort considering the amount of time that I had. I didn’t get involved in student organizations because I felt that they were unnecessary and took up time that I could use to hang out with friends. Little did I know, those student organizations are almost as important as getting good grades.

Participating in student organizations and employment are the most crucial part of your college career. You will make friendships that will last a lifetime and you will learn new skills about yourself that you might not have expected. It will force you to grow out of your comfort zone to experience new things. If you participate in student organizations and jobs that you are passionate about or find interest in, it will be a more rewarding experience.

Student organizations that relate to your major will also help you get ahead of your peers. For example, PRSSA is a student organization that focuses on the needs of public relations students (Public Relations Student Society of America) and helps tremendously because you get the opportunity to hear recent graduates or experts in the field who will give you a real world perspective on what you will be doing for the rest of your life. It is highly rewarding because it gives you a chance to get your hands dirty and form relationships with your peers who you will ultimately be competing with when you graduate college.

With my graduation in the fall quickly approaching, I find myself lacking the copious amounts of free time that I had as a freshman and regretting the wasted opportunities I had to grow as a student.

When employers want to consider hiring someone right out of college, they will look at your GPA of course, but they are also going to be looking at what organizations you participated in. If they have to choose between someone who was in an organization and someone who was not, they may choose the person in the organization because they want the full package. Employers look for recently graduated students who are smart, but they also want someone who is willing to take the risk and get involved. Employers are looking for someone who is able to juggle good grades and students organizations because that person most likely is able to manage their time well, which is something you need to know how to do for a real world job.

The moral of the story here is get involved early. Don’t be hesitant, afraid or stubborn to join student organizations. They help, and if you participate in one that fits your passion, you will have the time of your life. You will make the friends you need to help you through college early, and ultimately those friends will be your support system throughout your college career.