As a first-generation college student, I knew little to nothing about going to college. I didn’t grow up hearing my parent’s stories from their ‘college days’ or take regular visits to their alma mater. All I knew was that I was 18, had just graduated high school, and was ecstatic to be out on my own.
It’s a wonder I didn’t fall flat on my face my first semester with such little guidance.
However, I (thankfully) thrived. Reflecting back, I truly believe that the formula to my overall success began with getting heavily involved on campus my first semester.
Here are three of the most important things I gained from being involved. I hope that if you're not yet involved at UGA or in the Athens Community, this will motivate you to start your journey…this semester!
1. Lifetime Friendships
Some of my very best friends were made through getting involved on campus. In fact, all six of my bridesmaids were friends from college! Sorority sisters, roommates, Student Government Association (SGA) and campus ministry friends…the list goes on. I can’t imagine my college career without their friendship, support, and encouragement along the way.
Tip: I encourage you to swallow your pride, open up and be vulnerable with others, early. You might just gain some lifelong friends!
2. Discover Passions and Strengths
Through my on-campus, part-time jobs and summer internship, I learned that I really enjoyed presenting information, helping others, and planning events, which in turn helped lead me to my current career as a Career Consultant. Don’t be afraid to take interesting classes, set up informational interviews with people working in positions of interest to you, and join interesting clubs and student organizations. These experiences can absolutely help you learn more about who you are and provide insight into what you might want to spend your life doing.
Tip: Because there are over 750+ student clubs and organizations to get involved in at UGA, you may be uncertain as to what clubs and organizations align with your major. No worries! Check out the Career Center’s “What Can I Do With A Major In…?” resource page. Be sure to view the “Campus Resources” section for more info.
3. Stand Out to Employers On Paper and In Person
My campus involvement proved to be very attractive to employers as well as graduate school committees. During interviews, I had a wealth of experiences to pull from when answering the interviewer’s questions. It is important to note that employers tend to be more interested in a candidate with a 3.”something” GPA who was extremely involved on campus and in the community versus the candidate with a 4.0 GPA who did nothing outside the classroom or their dorm room.
Tip: Create a basic resume (utilizing the UGA Career Center’s Resume Samples to get started). Update your resume each semester to include new campus involvement and relevant work experience. This will save a lot of time down the road!
And if those reasons weren’t enough, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE Studies) shows that student success is directly linked to student involvement!* Don’t get to the end of the semester, or worse, the end of your college career and regret not getting involved. What campus clubs, organizations or community activities do YOU plan to get involved in?
*Source: Student Involvement Means Success All Around. (2009, June 4). Retrieved January 11, 2015, from http://blog.orgsync.com/2009/student-involvement-means-success-all-around