When applying for jobs or trying to begin one’s career, college graduates are faced with the daunting challenge of listing experiences. The typical person lists his or her academic achievements and his or her job history. While these achievements are remarkable in the regard that one has successfully completed at least a Bachelor’s degree and has held down a job at least at some point in his or her life, such achievements are all too typical of the conventional student, which doesn’t allow for much license for one to stand out.
Granted, a student may have to pay, or help pay, for his or her education, depending on financial situation, but for those with more economic independence, I support the idea of taking an atypical approach to gaining experience.
Organizations that most students tend to flock to, or at least express some degree of interest in are Greek ones such as fraternities or sororities. Yes, said organizations provide opportunity for community service and networking, particularly post-college, but other organizations can be equally as beneficial.
Personally, I was never involved with many extra-curricular programs in high school. I settled for just getting by and leaving school grounds as soon as I could. Even at community college I did the same thing, and though I do not subscribe to the idea of believing in regrets, I sometimes wonder how I would have benefitted from spending my time at school differently.
Coming to Slippery Rock, I went out of my way to become involved with as much as I could. I signed up for a multitude of things at the club fair and attended most of the clubs’ meetings. Of course, I couldn’t keep up with all of them, so I chose which ones I liked the most.
My experiences with clubs includes me being an active member in them, with me eventually becoming a vice-president in two of them. Being able to say I helped lead meetings, make important decisions and exert authority over others, speaks volumes about my personal growth way more than my position of working in a grocery store for over four years.
Critics to my approach may cite that everyone has to work eventually, after all, isn’t that why we’re going to college, in order to find a job? Although that is one reason for attending school, it has become more of a reason since pursuing higher education has been co-opted by monetizing everything and deriving immediate practical applications from one’s endeavors. Going to college means seeking knowledge and developing as a person. If work is the only thing that matters, then why bother with college? Employment should be enough on its own.
But I think that by participating in “non-practical” activities, even if that means volunteering or taking on an internship as well, students cultivate more valuable experience for themselves than they would wasting time doing something they hate that has no bearing on their aspirations.