Incoming freshmen should get involved with their departments quickly

Published by adviser, Author: Joseph Szalinski - Rocket Contributor , Date: March 8, 2017
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As students of Slippery Rock, and as college students in general, it is up to our discretion as to what we choose to study and major and minor in. Many factors influence this decision, namely prospective job opportunities and job satisfaction. But that is all to be considered and dealt with later on down the road. While in school, we have to derive satisfaction from what we study, and we must take advantages of opportunities presented to us.

That’s why it’s imperative that students become involved with their respective departments. Not only are your peers potential networking opportunities and/or competition, but they are capable of providing invaluable friendships that really make your college experience worthwhile. It is always helpful to have friends who are able to assist you in whatever academic pursuit you might be struggling with, as well as helping you grow into a fuller, more realized person, professionally and personally.

Not to mention that professors are just as important, if not more important, than one’s peers. Most importantly, professors are in charge of grades.

Establishing a healthy student-teacher relationship not only shows the faculty that you have the capacity to be a hard worker, but being involved in department-related events shows them that you are more than just a student who wants to pass a class; you’re someone legitimately interested and invested in his or her future. And it’s because of this that professors take the extra effort on their part to help out in looking for internships or writing letters of recommendation for graduate school.

As an English major, I wondered how a sense of community was fostered when writing was such a solitary endeavor. But after spending time in the department, and helping host student readings bake sales, trips (like to conferences in other states and study abroad opportunities to Italy and Canada) and working on our literary/film magazines, I’ve come to recognize how tight-knit departments can be. And that makes everything more enjoyable and easier.

And it’s not just your native-department(s) that you should concern yourself with either. Whether it’s by exploring departments that a second major or minor might have you “rub elbows with,” permitting you have a diverse field of study or by becoming involved in clubs or department events in your free time, opportunities abound everywhere and can help supplement your primary major.

In my case, I do theater and communication stuff on the side. By acting, writing and directing plays, and by doing camera work and writing opinion pieces, I’m subjecting myself to more of what this school has to offer.

I’m becoming a better writer by going outside of my comfort zone, outside of what’s typical. This also pads a résumé and provides an opportunity to make many wonderful new friends, as I have had the pleasure of being able to do.

That is my most recommended piece of advice: get involved in it all, particularly in your primary department. The promises and potential are endless!

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