When I was in the 7 grade, my social studies teacher had a conversation with my class about college. I remember him telling us that college was the best time of his entire life and we should all go to college. In my head I was very confused because I was thinking, why would anyone think school is the best time of their life? My teacher continued to talk about his college experience and how much he loved it and I noticed his experience was not just going to school and doing homework. My teacher was in a fraternity and he was involved in a couple of organizations on his campus. Listening to my teacher in the 7 grade, I could not understand or even imagine why this was such a great time for him. Now, eight years later, I can finally understand what he meant when he said college was the greatest time of his life.
If your college experience only includes you coming to class and doing homework, you are certainly going about your college experience the wrong way. Joining a student organization can be one of the most positive impacts on your college career and I strongly influence everyone to join one that fits them for many reasons:
- You meet so many people. Coming into college as a Freshman can be extremely overwhelming. You are entering a new environment, a new scenery and a new life. Not all of us are as fortunate as to go to the same school as all of our lifelong friends, so for most of us starting over and making new friends is something we have all had to do. It is much easier to make friends when you are around people that have the same interests as you. One of the best kinds of organizations to join on campus would be one that is also tied into your major, because not only are you meeting people with the same interests as you, but you are also seeking helpful information about your major at the same time. The student showcase for all of the clubs and organizations on campus is a great way to find what you are interested in, as there are clubs for almost everything on campus.
- You can work on your networking skills. What people do not tell you about college prior to entering college is that networking is essential. Having good grades and a good grade point average is still very much necessary, but knowing who to network with and how to network efficiently has become one of the very most important things in college, because as we all know in many situations in life, it is not what you know it is who you know. There are many clubs and organizations on campus that have advisors who were once students and know exactly what we are going through and are willing to help as much as they can. Also, many clubs and organizations hold events throughout the year that have guest speakers that used to be students talk about how they have become successful. You can also find some great internship opportunities when you are involved with organizations on campus.
- It looks great on your resume. When building your resume, it can be very stressful trying to figure out exactly what goes in there. You do not want to sound cliche or over stretch the truth at all, but you also want to make it sound like you have accomplished a lot and have a lot of experience. Being in different student organizations gives you something to fill your resume out with and also gives you something to talk about in potential interviews.
- You can work on your professionalism. Referring back to the networking topic, a problem I see often with college students is they do not know how to network because they come short with a lot of the professional skills that you should know of. There have been times where students have had the people they needed to talk to right in front of them but did not know how to talk to them or what to say. Being in different clubs helps because you meet so many different kind of people, and in these clubs they have workshops and dinners about proper etiquette. Organizations such as the American Marketing Association even go as far as having fashion shows showing you what to wear and what not to wear at business events.
- You make incredible memories. This is my first year at UNC Charlotte and I am currently active in 4 student organizations. Being in these organizations has taught me so much about myself and so much about the people around me. I have met some incredible friends and have attended some great events due to being in these clubs, such as fashion shows, etiquette dinners, fundraisers outside of school and trips to private companies. I can not count on my ten fingers how much I have gained through these organizations, and I definitely can not tell you how many fun and beneficial moments I have had this year. I strongly encourage you to go out and find an organization that fits you, join and see how much you love it!
If you check out the student orgsync page for UNC Charlotte, you can find all of the clubs and organizations we offer and how to get in contact with them. Also if there is something you are interested in but we do not have a club for it you can contact the student org center and start it here on campus.