Hawks Should Soar Beyond the Classroom Door

Getting involved on campus is a phrase that has been drilled into our minds since orientation, but it can truly make a huge difference in your college experience. Joining organizations that coincide with your major provide hands on experiences, one-on-one mentorship, and networking opportunities.

As college students, we all wonder what we can do to stand out in our resume in the hopes of being hired for an internship or career. Increasing our education outside of the classroom is an effective way to expand networks, gain new skills and experiences, and learn from others, whether it be attending events on campus or venturing out to a conference.

One editor reflected on a time that The Outlook provided him with an opportunity to write an article to be printed in a newspaper in another state. After interning for the Asbury Park Press over the summer, a journalist recognized him from his attendance at every Monmouth football and basketball game. This journalist reached out to the editor and gave him the opportunity to cover a game in Mississippi.

“He was looking for a story around 400 words focusing on Ole Miss by 10 p.m. EST. I told him that I would make it happen,” said the editor. “This was a really good experience that would not have happened if all I did was go to class.”

At Monmouth we also have the opportunity to meet and listen to a wide variety of speakers, from politicians to writers to experts in different fields. These speakers give students valuable lessons and a peek into worlds different from their own. “One time I attended a session about child marriages in Nigeria which was very educational and interesting,” reflected one editor. “The speaker told her firsthand account with child marriage in Nigeria and how she was able to escape her country and come to America to be free. I wouldn’t have learned this information in the classes I take for my major.”

Another great way to expand your education outside of the classroom is to attend a conference. Conferences offered by the University provide valuable insight to students, who get to learn from professionals and other students. One editor said, “It is important to attend conferences because it allows you to meet and connect with people from all over the country, and to learn more about the field you are studying at MU.”

According to some of the staff, networking is a huge benefit to attending conferences, and meeting new people in a variety of positions and backgrounds and can open doors and provide diversity of opinion. One editor explained, “Not only were we networking with potential employers, but we can network with other students too. It is extremely interesting learning about other universities because we are all so different.”

Learning how to think outside of our school’s bubble is an important lesson those who have attended conferences have learned. “I found that I learned a lot about how to handle things from different perspectives,” commented an editor. “We, for example, know how to do things the way that the Monmouth population is taught, but other professors and speakers opened my eyes to new thoughts and ideas.”

Being actively involved on campus can provide valuable knowledge and experiences, and travel can be the ultimate learning experience. One covered University events going on by travelling with the University basketball team. “The Outlook has given me priceless opportunities these last two years, such as covering the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament twice and going to one of college basketball’s iconic programs in North Carolina,” the editor recalled. “I enjoy being around other media members that have been doing this for a long time and networking this way.”

Another editor said, “Being able to attend a journalism conference in San Francisco was an amazing experience for me because I have never been to the West Coast before. Not only did I learn some valuable information to improve my career and my skills, but I got to experience the culture of a beautiful city and I am greatly indebted to the University for letting me do so.”

While conferences are not the sole way to stand out amongst a pool of candidates for a job, the experience gained elevates more than your resumé. “Attending conferences allows students to step outside of their comfort zones. It may open new doors that may otherwise have stayed shut, and it is a way in which students can obtain real world learning experience,” commented an editor. “It also encourages students to travel and become more independent.”

At Monmouth, it is easy to get comfortable within our bubble. But leaving the campus behind for a few days can bring an entirely new perspective to our fields of study. “If you think your way of doing something is the best fit for you, it’s important to hear input from others,” explained one editor. “Seeing how others have tried and succeeded or failed helps give you ideas to work off of to make yourself or club the best it can be.”