So… a letter about the importance of getting involved in extracurricular activities while in college coming from the student body president and proud fraternity brother may seem a tad obvious, but I was not always as involved on campus as I am now and my life now is better for my involvement. When I arrived on campus, like many first year students, I put my head down and got to the business of getting a degree. I thought that I had an adequate life off campus and enough friends in school to make the day go by so why spend any more time than I had to doing “college” stuff. I felt this way until one day I got involved, largely by accident, with a group of students who, like myself, enjoyed swing dancing. My enjoyment of this club led me to try other groups and this involvement lead me to get going with student government. I found student government extremely engaging, I got to manage and allocate millions of dollars and I got to set policy that directly affected, and hopefully improved, the life of my fellow students. While I was engaged with student leadership I began to meet men and women who were a part of Greek life on campus, these men and women constantly impressed me. I saw fraternity and sorority members being some of the most engaged students on campus and so I did the only logical thing, I joined The Phi Delta Theta fraternity and going Greek has been my best decision yet.
This is my story, and my story will not be the same as your story but I want to stress the importance of finding your story. Do not spend your four years on this campus sitting in classrooms and then finding the fastest route back to your bedroom, laptop, and Netflix. There are so many ways to get involved in your community and on your campus. You can join one of over two hundred student groups, everything from the anime club to griz-for-Unicef. The benefit to joining a club is that you can get leadership experience by filling an executive role in the club. If you want to get involved but use the ever-convenient excuse of being a working student with “no” free time, make your engagement your job! You can work for UM Productions and get paid to go to concerts like Paul McCartney and The Dropkick Murpheys, or you could go get a job working on a political campaign supporting whatever candidate you like. Campaign jobs are great because you can get paid but you can also get college credit. I can not name every possible way to better yourself by getting involved because the opportunities are practically countless, but trust me there is a unique place that is just right for you, and you need to find it.
At the end of the day college is all about preparing you to get a job upon graduation, that and making you a more well rounded person, and the one thing that every employer has in common is that they want to see hands on experience. Your future employer wants to see that you have worked with a budget, and there is no better way than to look at them and say, “I managed $100,000.00 while being the treasurer of “x” club.” Your future employer wants to see that you can work productively in group settings, and there is no better way to demonstrate that than by saying “I lead a team of ten while I was the president of “x” sorority.” Do not think of getting involved as an option but rather as a critical part of your college education, a chance to get hands on experience and, if your lucky, maybe even start changing your community.