The foresight every college student must have on choosing ways to spend their time.
The benefits of being actively involved in college:
It was only after I became a member of student organizations, after volunteering in college activities to help my peers, and after embracing my opportunities in my freshman year that I started to understand why college is such an important step in growing up and an imperative part of life. In this post, I will tell you all the benefits and knowledge that I received for being active in college and how to be involved in the first place.
1. Should the opportunity present itself, why not go for it?
Even for a freshman on their first day of class, I can confidently affirm that this person already has a lot of chances to make new connections and develop social skills if he or she simply likes to do something. In almost every college or university in the U.S. there are clubs (also known as student organizations) in which involved students are united in activities, gatherings, and even initiatives to benefit the college. Every person in college is interested in something, even if you are not sure what career path to take, there will be a club that you will fit in, trust me.
A fantastic example is the International Student Ambassadors club that I am responsible for at Hillsborough Community College (HCC). This is a club that provides international students with the chance to meet each other and talk about their experiences while participating in a variety of exciting events during the semester. Therefore, when you see a club or clubs that interest you, I recommend that you join them immediately so you can make new friends and hang out!
2. Stand out! Be unique.
While joining a club is a great start, you have to keep going. One of the key features of being an involved student is to have an overachieving mindset in your actions as a student. I am not just talking about having a 4.0 GPA, I am referring to taking the extracurricular route to show that you are a student who is more than willing to learn more and run the extra mile.
How about volunteering in campus-wide activities to make a beneficial difference in your community? Or becoming an executive officer for a student organization? Or becoming a representative in the student government? By choosing any or all of the options above, you will be improving many skills that will be useful for your career in the future. Including but not limited to public speaking, problem-solving, time management, critical thinking, teamwork, and most importantly leadership.
3. The long-term benefits of standing out.
For better or for worse, today we live in a very competitive society. This competition extends from being accepted to universities, getting a new job, to even being appointed to a public position. Even though maintaining a good academic standing is a very meaningful influence to achieving your career goals, I would argue that being unique and showing extra potential is even more valuable.
For instance, it is true that the most famous and successful college fraternities in the United States such as NSCS and Phi Theta Kappa require students to have a high GPA in order to become a member of said associations. However, the scholarship benefits of becoming a member are only awarded to a number of students who stand out compared to the rest due to the overwhelming amount of applicants with a high GPA.
4. Believe in yourself! Opportunities will lead to new opportunities.
As an involved student continues his extracurricular chores in college, your feats will be acknowledged, and you will be more and more recognized for your troubles. As a result, unique students will be provided with yet again more opportunities, and perhaps even a chance to rank up in the leadership hierarchy of the organizations that they are working with. In this case, the next step would be to have faith in yourself and to not be afraid of these new valuable opportunities. Go ahead and apply for roles with more and more responsibilities involved.
I know exactly how hard taking this step can be, when I was given the opportunity to become the SGA president, I kept on discouraging myself, I didn’t think I had what it takes to be in a position of this prestige, but in the end, I did apply for the position and I succeeded. This is an imperative part of the process because it solidifies the confidence of the student which is yet another quality involved leaders should have, making them realize that they are in fact better than they perceive themselves as and can achieve much more. You can do it!
Joao Magalhães from Brazil is studying mass communications at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida. His favorite things about Tampa are the weather, tourist attractions, and the friends he has made.
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