Why you should get involved

INDIANA, PA - SATURDAY 9/27: "Into the Streets" Service Learning for IUP students. Volunteers (left to right) T. J. Belle (freshman, computer science) and Olivia Wolf (sophomore, sociology), mulch tree wells along Philadelphia St. (Cal Cary/ The Penn)

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We know, you hear it all the time: Get involved in college. And some of you might be thinking, “No way.” But in the spirit of The Penn’s New Student Issue, we thought we’d tell you why getting involved can make or break your college experience.

For a lot of majors, your classes alone are not enough experience before going out into your field of choice. Hands-on experience is where you’ll learn the most about your profession.

Plus, how can you know that you truly like something if you’re just learning about it and not actually doing it? Joining clubs and organizations that supplement your career goals will either 1) provide you with invaluable, “real-life” experiences to take with you after graduation or 2) show you that maybe you don’t actually like your major, after all. Your first year of college is all about starting to find out who you are, what you want to do and what you definitely don’t want to do. What better way to make these discoveries than by actually trying stuff out? That’s exactly what campus organizations allow us to do.

And if you’re not even sure what major-based organizations you want to join yet, that’s OK. What are your hobbies? If you like music, why not join WIUP-FM? Like being outdoors? How about the Outing Club or Sailing Club? There are so many options, it’d be almost impossible to not find something that interests you.

Joining a club is about more than just adding a line to your resume (though that part is important, too). It’s about building relationships with the people around you, whether they are friendships or potential professional connections in the future, while also showing potential employers, “I can commit to something and follow through with it.”

And we’re not saying that your college experience will not be as fulfilling or worthwhile if you don’t try to get involved. But if you’re looking to form a deeper, lasting connection with your university, your professors and your peers, getting involved is the easiest, most effective way to achieve that goal.

If I’ve learned one thing about college, it’s that you get what you put into it. If you’re constantly putting yourself out there, looking for opportunities and taking advantage of all of the great resources that the university offers, opportunities are going to come back your way tenfold.

IUP Day is today (Friday), so make your way over to the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex sometime between 3 and 6 p.m. to see what your university has to offer.

There is so much more to college than going to class and parties. The question is, are you willing to take the leap?