The Benefits of Getting Involved in College Clubs and OrganizationsJuly 31, 2013 in College Life
While I knew that I'd be interested in getting involved in college clubs and organizations as a freshman, I had no idea just how much they would influence my life and my career.
I attended the Student Organization Night early in the year and was very excited, and completely overwhelmed, by all the clubs represented at this event. There were over 300 clubs there and everyone from the bocce enthusiasts to those passionate about environmental sustainability wanted you to join their club.
I may have been a little overzealous as I put my name on the interest sheet for what seemed like half of the clubs there (and I spent a lot of time over the next four years asking for my name to be taken off various mailing lists), but it was inspiring to see that so many people were excited about getting involved in college activities.
Over time I learned to value the quality of the organizations I joined over the quantity of members. I chose to dedicate myself to one service club, one academic organization, and one group for exercise and fun. By focusing my time and energy on these three organizations, I was able to dedicate myself to each without my schoolwork suffering.
The benefits I gained by getting involved in college are numerous: not only was I able to serve the community around me, but I was also able to grow my personal and professional network and develop some life-long friendships. I was also able to learn more about my chosen field than I would have had I not looked outside of the classroom. For example, I studied Exercise Science and learned a lot in my classes about how proper fitness and nutrition can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes, but we only touched slightly on the effect exercise has on treatment and prevention of different types of cancer. However, through my volunteer work as an Exercise Consultant at a cancer center, I gained incredibly valuable knowledge for my future career that I wouldn't have learned in a classroom setting.
Getting involved in college groups and organizations taught me how to work as a team to achieve a common goal. I learned about what leadership strategies work for me and how to manage my time and priorities. Naturally, the people I met through these organizations share some of my interests; I'm so grateful for the friendships that I made. Each club has a faculty adviser and that person is an invaluable resource for career advice and, when it comes time to apply for internships and jobs, recommendation letters.
College is certainly an experience in which you get out what you put in. Make it a great one and challenge yourself to get involved in a club or activity that interests you. You'll make new friends, give back to the community, and forge important professional relationships.
Photo credit: Morguefile