Opinion: get involved in sh*t

Editor-in-Chief Natalie Mowad is ready to move past the pandemic and put the students back into student life.  


Images courtesy of Natalie Mowad

Natalie Mowad working her student job at The Source.

By Natalie Mowad, Editor-in-Chief

After my first semester in Fall 2019, I went home for Christmas break and told my mom I had no friends.  

College is hard when you have no friends. 

As an out-of-state, “one-person-from-my-high-school goes here” student, it was quite the adjustment. My friends that I grew up with for 18 years were no longer with me, and my hundred high school extracurricular activities were over.  

Though I was in marching band at UA, and had a few acquaintances, my mom recommended I join a sorority. 

I was not interested. 

 Mom told me to investigate it before saying no, so just like any other Gen Z, I went to Instagram. After a bit of “researching,” I thought that I could maybe see myself joining one of the sororities, so I did.  

The process was fun and a little stressful but, in the end, I found my second home with girls that I knew would be in my life forever. I joined a few other clubs and finally started to find my groove.  

Everyone knows what happens in this next part of the story: (cue the dramatic music) March 2020. 

Just like everyone, I had my struggles during lockdown. Not seeing friends, being stuck in my house, trying all the weird TikTok trends people were doing.  

Natalie Mowad standing in front of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority house at The University of Akron
Natalie Mowad outside her sorority house at The University of Akron.


My whole life I had enjoyed being on the go with sports, band, theatre, school. I had just started to find that busy, belonging feeling with college when the world shut it all down. It sucked.  

Through lockdown though, there was a true effort put in by my sorority and other organizations I was in. Zoom became my laptop home screen but it was okay because I could still see and interact with the people I cared about in the only possible way.  

As lockdown went on longer, it got easier to interact but harder to stay positive about the future when I had no clue what it would bring.  

I went back to campus for Fall 2020 semester because I needed that interaction, and knew I needed to get involved, even if it was from 6 feet away. I got a job on campus in The Department of Student Life, I stuck with my sorority and the marching band, and joined a few new organizations. I was finally getting a taste of the “college experience” I had wanted.  

Finally, I had friends.

Eventually, I started hearing that we were “back to normal” with classes in person, club meetings and campus opening back to pre-pandemic norms. Unfortunately, though people were excited to return, it’s almost as if as a student body, we still haven’t come back. 

During the pandemic, people added more work to their schedule because online courses didn’t occupy the same time blocks. That also made it hard to succeed in school. Now that we’re back, students are still trying to maintain their pandemic work schedules on top of in-person course loads. Some younger students just aren’t used to being part of campus life; they started online. 

Guess what that means?  

I have personally experienced a significant lack of involvement on campus. Fewer people are available for organization meetings, activities, or fun get-togethers with classmates. This not only impacts student organizations; it’s also impacting us. 

Without involvement, we are missing out on opportunities for leadership, professional experience, and experiences that can make us more well-rounded.  

But you don’t have to take my word for it. I reached out to some of the people I look up to on campus for their thoughts on involvement. 

“My campus involvement has been impactful to me as I have grown as a leader, and I’ve developed relevant experience in a field I am interested in,” Camryn Moore, President of Zips Programming Network, said. “I feel that working and leading organizations on campus has allowed me to utilize the things I am learning in my classes to be put to work in real-life situations.”  

Moore is not only part of ZPN, but also serves on the University of Akron Public Relations Student Society of America officer board. Both allow her to put public relations, event planning and social media skills from the classroom into practice. 

Other students emphasize the importance of making connections and growing as a professional. 

“I can positively say that I am a better person because of my involvement on campus. It has given me lifelong connections and helped me improve my time management and leadership skills,” Jena Mies, President of Alpha Gamma Delta, said. 

Natalie Mowad in her UA band uniform with UA kangaroo mascot Zippy
Natalie Mowad and UA mascot Zippy after a marching band performance. (Images courtesy of Natalie Mowad)

Involvement is what helps you find your people. You may only see students in one class or two, but when you become involved, you can meet others who share your interests and develop deeper friendships. 

“Being involved on campus has been such a fulfilling and rewarding experience for me. Within my organizations and music ensembles, I have found people who share my interests and hobbies that truly make feel at home at UA,” Karlynn Baker, Treasurer of Kappa Kappa Psi and OCMEA said. 

The relationships you can make and experiences you can have are unique to the college environment. When you walk across the stage, many of those opportunities dry up. 

“I have met all my forever friends through being involved in some way on campus, and truly it has made my college experience something that I will always cherish and remember,” Baker said.  

My dad always told me to be involved in as many activities as possible because in the end, it will benefit me in more ways than one and I can confidently say he was right.  

My experiences and involvement have led me to more opportunities than I ever would have thought and introduced me to some of the greatest people I have ever met. I have learned so much from every activity I have done. I know I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without it.  

Getting involved helped me get my sh*t together when the world was falling apart. It helped my mental health. It taught me more about people and life than anything else could have.