April 17, 2012

The Importance of Collegiate Involvement

Going away to college can be tough. Transitioning from your comfort zone of regular schedules and daily home-made meals to alarmingly late nights and Ramen noodles can be a big change. College can really test your character and make you question a ton of things about your interests and your future. The best way to cope with the constant change of college life is to get involved!

You’ve probably heard this at least a dozen times from your parents, your advisors, other college graduates, or a combination of all. But hey, they’re right. Getting involved changed the way I viewed my collegiate experience and really made the difference between sticking it out and moving back home.

2010-11 Homecoming Council

If you’re going to a large college or university, it’s easy to get lost in the vastness of the student population and feel like an ant among giants. Going from auditorium to auditorium with 300 strangers to go back to cinderblock dorm-room is kind of… well, awful. The best way to avoid those painful twinges of homesickness is to get busy. Dive in and explore your university’s student activity resources and find something you might see yourself enjoying. Get so busy that you have no choice but to love what you’re doing.

After a pretty emotional freshman year, chalked with break ups, adjustments and bad roommates, I was craving something that would positively define my college experience. I went out on fairly extreme limb and applied to be on the Homecoming Executive Council.

Beyond fortunately, I earned a position on the board as an assistant to a great friend of mine. I had a blast. I met people that changed my life and made me laugh -- who encouraged me to do things I never would have done in the first place – like rush FSU’s Newest Sorority, Alpha Phi. It’s because of my experiences with student activities in college, that I have such pride and love for FSU.

Most schools have a website solely dedicated to student activities. At FSU, there are over 600 Registered Student Organizations, so have no fear, there’s something for everyone from every background. All you have to do is look.

FSU Panhellenic Recruitment 2011- Preference Ceremony

Getting involved with your college outside of the classroom is extremely important to the success of your future. It allows you to apply what you’re learning to real-life situations and puts you in front of a diverse group of students and faculty. The connections you make with different facets of the student body is rewarding and totally worth any work you put into your membership or position. Serving on an executive board for any student organization will be the most enjoyable work you ever do, and if nothing else, adds a tier to your resume.

 As graduation creeps closer and closer, it’s not the all-nighters, classes or even the teachers I’ll remember. It’s the time I was blessed with working with people who both inspired and helped me light a path in making my years in college some that I’m really proud of.

If you haven’t already, find your niche. Get out of your dorm and your comfort zone and find something that helps you be you. Participate in recruitment, join an honor society or find a club that coincides with your major. The more places you go, and the more people you meet, the more opportunities will flourish – and the happier you’ll be.

Jamie K. White is a collegiate member at Florida State (Gamma Phi). Click here to read more about Jamie.

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