Let me tell you a short story about how I ended up here, working for Community College of Aurora. When I left home for college I probably had the same feelings as you did your first day of classes. I was excited, anxious, and ready to begin. I saw college as the opportunity to reinvent myself and be who I always thought I was supposed to be. I wanted to be important and have an impact on those around me, something I never seemed to be able to accomplish in high school.
Once school started, I quickly realized that the impact I wanted to have was not going to be accomplished in the classroom; classes went by so quickly, and although there were opportunities to interact with other students, they didn’t happen often. So I started looking for ways I could get more from my college experience. That’s when I happened upon Student Government. I attended a student clubs fair and quickly realized that this is where I needed to be. These students were active, fun to be around, and seemed to know more about the college and the community than any other students I had met.
I decided to join a couple of student organizations, and that was how it all began for me. After getting involved, I found I knew information on student opportunities, scholarships, and faculty, before other students did. I felt valued at my institution and connected. Involvement in these organizations not only helped me get jobs while I was in college, it helped me find a career I would excel at: working with college students! I owe everything I have today to that student organization fair and the students who inspired me to get involved.
So my advice to you: Get involved to get the most out of your college experience. Don’t just come to school, go home, and never actually live this experience – an experience that you will only get to have once. Find something you are interested in whether it’s at college or out in the community. By getting involved you will have more to discuss in job interviews, more to write about in scholarship applications, and more connections to network with. Research on college students suggests that students who become active in their college environments (i.e. get involved) have a higher GPA and are more likely to graduate than their peers who are not involved.
I know my story is not the most interesting story you have ever read, but if you take one thing away from this post, let it be this: Try something new. Go to a club meeting, visit student government, attend a student life program, volunteer at the food bank; just do something. Don’t let your college experience pass you by!
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