The sun is shining on your face. People are bumping your shoulder, and the air is filled with rampant conversations. Everyone seems to know where they’re going, while you’re still looking around, trying to find the right building. It’s the first day of freshman year in college. You’re wondering if this year is going to be great, if you’re going to make new friends, and how much you’ll have to study to pass your classes. With all of that on your plate—in addition to a job, perhaps—joining a student organization is the last thing on your mind.
But that shouldn’t be the case. Student organizations can be an important part of your growth during your college career. Not only do they provide the resources needed to succeed in the world, they can give you some of the best people you’ve ever met, building friendships that last a lifetime. Student organizations can you give you access to opportunities you won’t find anywhere else. Being involved can be important to your attitude toward college and either make or break your stay.
Student organizations help strengthen leadership skills. According to an article released by Sam Houston State University, on-campus organizations allow students to “take on responsibilities or challenges to lead and make a difference in the university community” and “provide students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be a good leader”—qualities they can take with them into life after college. Furthermore, in a survey conducted by the University of Arizona, more than half the students surveyed agreed that joining student organizations allowed them to strengthen their leadership skills. Being a leader can be scary, but what better way to learn than to be surrounded by people who are supporting your goals?
Joining an organization is one of the best ways to build a bigger network. One of the most important things in college is networking with people who share similar interests, because it gives you the chance to explore possible career opportunities and learn what it takes to reach your goals. Not only can you be exposed to real-world activities, but you can learn from former students as they return to help guide you in the right direction. Student organizations give you the opportunity to broaden your horizons, learning new skills and meeting people who can further your success as you transition from college to the real world.
Student organizations teach you time management. While dealing with the struggles of being a college student, one might feel that organizing priorities and managing time has become a bit of a problem. Lucky for you, student organizations can help solve that problem. How can adding another activity to your huge list of responsibilities help you manage your time? Well, it’s quite simple. Being busy allows you to organize your time effectively and prioritize each task according to its importance, which not only helps you get through to graduation day, but looks really good on your résumé. Employers want to see that you can balance work, life, and any other activities. The work you put in may feel useless right now, but it will pay off in the long run.
Finally, probably the reason why anyone would join a student organization in the first place: they build friendships. Our friends are why we do the things we do. They’re the reason we get gym memberships, why we take the same classes. Friends allow us to share our passions with people who see the world through a similar lens. Student organizations give us that chance to meet people who share similar interests, and others who don’t. They allow us to expand our views of the world and grow as people. You don’t need any surveys or articles to know that. So if anything, join to meet people and make friends, because college can be a scary place when you’re on your own, and it’s nice to know you have someone rooting for you.
As the sun begins to set, and the walkways become less filled, you begin to realize that college isn’t so bad after all. You’re starting to get a hang of your classes, and you’re meeting a lot of cool, new people. After joining a new student organization, you figure that college can actually be pretty fun. And it can. Student organizations can give you that connection to the university you wouldn’t feel anywhere else. They can turn a set of old buildings into a new home. Getting involved on campus gives you the chance to make college more than just an education. So if you’re asking yourself whether or not you should get involved, ask yourself if you want to just attend a university or be a part of it.
What student orgs make your college special? Share them in the comments!