After all the stress you had to endure, countless tests you took, innumerable nights you spent burning the midnight oil, you finally made it! You’re a freshman now and only the sky’s the limit, right? OK, before you start planning your road trip to Fort Lauderdale, you’ll first have to settle in, find your way around campus, meet lots of new people, absorb and process tons of new information all of which are crucial for your future success, and study. A lot. Squeezing a student organization into this busy schedule probably seems like something completely impossible and unnecessary, but it would be a good idea to give it a second thought and try to understand how it can be beneficial for you.
Offline social networking
While LinkedIn and Facebook are great for connecting with people with similar interests and professions online, you shouldn’t neglect face-to-face kind of networking, and joining a student organization is a perfect place to start building your professional and personal relationships. Did you know that a recent survey established that as much as 85% of job vacancies are filled through networking? There’s also a reason why almost every high school graduate dreams of entering an Ivy League school, and it’s not only because that’s the way to get the best possible education. Being in the company of powerful, well-connected people can create much more job opportunities and might open more doors for business.
So, you’ve crossed thousands of miles and left your home, your family, and childhood friends to start a new chapter of your life. This experience is exciting, but let’s be honest and admit that it’s also scary and it can be pretty lonely, especially in the beginning. That’s why joining a student organization that matches your interests will help you build new friendships with like-minded people. Belonging to a community will help you deal with homesickness, and all those gatherings, meetings, and activities that you’ll participate in will make you feel part of something greater. Many student organizations also offer lots of free stuff such as basic printed shirts, caps, badges, bags, and even discounted and free admission to various galleries, theatres, or exhibitions.
During your first couple of weeks of college, you’ll be so flooded with all kinds of tasks and assignments, that it will be very hard for you to find your own pace, even if you could outorganize and outsystematize even Rory Gilmore herself with your set of organizational skills back in high school. How on earth would adding another commitment could help you with your already overcrowded schedule? Well, psychologically speaking, if you have more projects on the side, you’ll be forced to learn to prioritize and balance your time. Besides, once you graduate, the fact that you have managed to both study and be active in an organization will be a cue to your potential employers that you’re a productive person who is up to any challenge and who doesn’t shrink from rolling up their sleeves and digging in. Contrary to popular belief that student organizations distract students from studying thus leading to their diminished academic performance, research-backed information actually indicates that student organization members score a significantly higher GPA than the general student population.
Make a difference
There’s no better way to fight for something that you’re passionate about and try to do something for the greater good than channeling all your ideas and attitudes through a student organization. Have your say about environmental sustainability, fight racial and gender inequality, or social injustice, and try to make the world a better place by getting involved with a student organization. This experience can teach you how to polish your leadership skills, and become a responsible person willing to make a stand and encourage others to do the same.
Last but not least, let’s not forget that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Besides promoting diligence, hard work, and positive values, student organizations are no strangers to hosting fun activities. Charity parties, food tasting clubs, or sports events can be memorable and one of the most cherished moments of your student life. It’s great to share these great times with other young people with whom you have so much in common and who can become your closest, lifelong friends.
Student organizations can enrich your life and provide you with many benefits, so don’t miss out on being part of that amazing experience.
Emma Miller is a marketer and a writer from Sydney. Her focus is digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog and a mother of two.
All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.