College is more than pulling all-nighters and learning how to make gourmet meals with just a microwave. These four (or more) years are about growing as a person, developing your identity and learning other pertinent skills not taught in the classroom.
None of this can be done while sitting on the sidelines; you have to get in the game… and get involved!
Whether you attend a small school with 500 students or a Division 1 school with 35,000 fellow undergrads, there are countless ways to be involved. Join a club, Greek life or try your hand at student government. Resident hall associations, a sports team or an intramural squad is a great way to immerse yourself in campus activity. Entrepreneur clubs, a community service group and volunteering are also great options. The options, at most schools, are nearly endless.
Most important, the more effort you put into the organizations you join, the more you will get out of the experience. Look for open positions you can fill or committees you can join. If someone in your group needs help with a project – volunteer. If there is an activity or meeting scheduled – attend (with an invitation, or not… others will rarely turn down an offer of help).
I attended a big college and felt a little like a fish out of water as a freshman. So, I got involved and joined a sorority. It took me a few weeks to warm up to everyone, but once I volunteered for positions I felt my confidence grow. I started with a small position and, by the time I was a senior, eventually became vice president. I developed my leadership, time management, public speaking and countless other skills I now use in my career.
And it all started with raising my hand, once.
The benefits of participating in an organization, including the skills you’ll learn outside the classroom, will long outlast the time you actually spend in the organization, or at college.
College is not a spectator sport; sideline sitting is not an option. Leave the bleachers… and your comfort zone… and get involved.
About the Author: Lauren Kirkpatrick is YouTern’s Social Media Outreach Intern. She graduated from San Diego State in 2011, with a Bachelors degree in Public Relations. During college she interned for Integrated Sports Marketing, and has since worked for several San Diego area PR firms while developing her passion for social media.
In her personal life, Lauren is never more than 3 feet from her iPhone or Macbook – she says “they have their own side of the bed” – (and our guess is they probably also have their own iNames!) She’s a sports junkie, TV aficionado and expert baker. Follow Lauren on Twitter!