One of the most important details of your development as a person while in college, yet one of the most overlooked, is getting involved. For most of us, college is the first extended period we have spent away from home. And while that thought may not invoke intense fear for you, it is still important to recognize this large shift in routine. You may feel right at home at college, or like you have it all figured out from the start, but getting involved on campus can only benefit you in the long run for countless reasons. So, let us discuss the dos and don’ts of getting involved in college.
To start, use your resources. There is no need for “do’s and don’ts” if you do not even know what your college campus has to offer for clubs and activities. Millersville University makes it simple. Visit https://getinvolved.millersville.edu/ for all your organization, event, and involvement needs. The site is broken down into sections and makes it incredibly simple to sift through clubs and organizations that you may be interested in.
Begin with the obvious. I have danced my whole life, so the first organizations that I sought out when I arrived on campus were Millersville’s Dance Team and Expressions Dance. It made complete sense, and as a senior, I am happy to say I have spent four amazing years with Expressions Dance and owe it to that club for introducing me to my lifeline friends. Then, go with the not so obvious. Just because you have a club you are set in does not mean that there are not others that are a great match for you as well. For me, that was Her Campus, an organization all about college women using their voices in an online magazine and blog site. I joined because a dance friend recommended it, went to an info session, and fell in love with their message as a club. I have now been writing for Her Campus for over a year, allowing myself to speak my mind while also gaining blogging experience.
Differentiate between organizations that are beneficial to your career or are just extracurriculars. Balancing between both is so important; you cannot have fun without the work. So, I recommend joining a club because it is something that you love and then also because it will give you experience. Brownie points if you can find a club that does both. Dance is fun for me, but I have no intention of going into the performance industry. I do however plan to go into the marketing world post-graduation, so, Her Campus has been extremely helpful in this sense with giving me real life blogging opportunities.
Recognize when you need to step up. No matter if an organization is fun or all business, stepping up into a leadership role is always a great experience. Not only is it a great resume booster, but it is also an amazing opportunity to work with other students and faculty in a more professional sense. I have been lucky enough to be a teacher for Expressions Dance and serve on their board throughout my junior and senior years. This specific experience has taught me immense patience, accountability, and respect for my peers that I work with. As for Her Campus, I have had the pleasure of running their social media pages for the past school year. This has given me so much experience in the marketing aspect, which I have spent the past four years studying and hope to continue with my career.
While joining an organization can be exciting, it is also important to recognize when it might not be the right fit. This could be due to scheduling conflicts, the amount of time involved, or not what you thought it was going to be, so it is alright to turn down a club. While college schedules are frequently flexible, you do still have a life. From alone time, to homework, and social events, you do not want to take away from these equally important things just because you want to join a club. Burnout is real and while your first year on campus may be jam packed and you made it through just fine, remember you still have at least seven semesters to go. And they only get busier. So be picky with your clubs and only join those few that you know you are either getting important experience from or extreme happiness.
Despite the immense information just given, it is important to remember that clubs are supposed to be the stress relievers of college. I go to dance, and I forget about that massive project I have due next week and additional stressors that I have. While we are all here for an education, we are also all here for enriching experiences, and those experiences will not just come with sitting in a classroom. Get out of your residence hall, make new friends, and join an organization that you will miss come graduation.
Gabrielle Krick is a senior Business Administration major with a concentration in Management and minor in Marketing at Millersville University. Her interests include human resources, social media marketing, and content marketing. When she graduates in May 2023, Gabby hopes to work for a large company’s human resources department, specifically representing minorities and the LGBTQ community. She hopes to either stay in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area or move somewhere near Rehoboth, Delaware.
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