- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 22 October 2014
"Make sure to get involved!" Any student who has attended college for even a minimal amount of time has certainly heard this phrase or similar variations of it.
Whether it's parents, faculty, or peers, from the moment they commit to a school, college students are encouraged to get involved on campus by joining clubs and organizations. Enriching the college experience, meeting new people, and gaining skills or knowledge are the typical reasons to get involved. However, does this advice hold true, and are the benefits of getting involved all they're cracked up to be?
The Outlook staff overwhelmingly agrees with the importance of getting involved in extra-curricular activities, and believes the typical benefits are unquestionable.
The staff unanimously noted that they've developed life-long friendships and relationships through the clubs and organizations they're apart of on campus. One editor said, "I've made some awesome friends that I probably wouldn't have met otherwise. It allowed me to branch out and truly make relationships with people."
Gaining real life experience and skill building are also benefits mentioned by the majority of The Outlook staff. Several of the editors were quick to point out that they've gained invaluable experience in areas such as leadership and teamwork by getting involved with different groups on campus, and that this experience will help them after graduation. One editor referred to her involvement in her sorority as an example. "I've gained leadership experience from being on my sorority's executive board, and have also acquired important professional skills for my future."
The Outlook is aware that much of this is not new information. Developing relationships, enhancing skills, and gaining experience are expected parts of joining organizations on campus.
What The Outlook staff believes, however, is that the unexpected perks and benefits are truly what make being involved on campus worth it.
One editor said, "When I became engaged with clubs on campus, I naturally was looking to meet some new friends. But I found the most beneficial aspect of being in these groups was that they helped me learn more about myself. I now know what environments I work best in, what people I interact best with, what type of a workload I can handle, and what actions I personally dislike and will avoid." This sentiment neatly sums up The Outlook's belief that getting involved on campus helps individuals grow as people, and gain a better understanding of themselves.
The Outlook also acknowledges some of the material advantages gained by being part of an organization. Numerous staff members mentioned that many clubs routinely offer their members food, t-shirts, or other goods that serve as a form of compensation for all of their work. One editor mentioned a trip she took with her group to California. "It was an awesome experience. I learned a lot, and it was fun just being able to travel across the country."
Several members of the staff also noted that being involved in different clubs allows them access to private computer labs and study rooms where it is easier to get work done.
Whatever the club or organization, whether it has a scholarly focus or is strictly for enjoyment, The Outlook staff wholeheartedly agrees that getting involved on campus is one of the most important aspects of having a great college experience. In fact, the majority of The Outlook staff admitted that they wish they had gotten involved earlier in their college careers. One editor said, "I don't regret much in life, but if there is one thing it would be not getting involved in things sooner."
As one editor put it, "College isn't just about academics, it's about learning who you are, gaining real life experience, and having fun. Not all of that can be learned in a classroom."