Throughout my time here at SRU, I have been involved in multiple communities around campus. These include working in different on-campus jobs such as in dining, as a JumpStart mentor and as a desk attendant.
I began by getting involved with the JumpStart program. From there, I got a job in dining and joined WSRU-TV and The Rocket as a contributor. I went on to get a job as a desk attendant, and my most recent involvement was joining SRU’s chapter of SVA, also known as Student Veterans Association.
I attribute being in the JumpStart Program to why and how I am now involved in all of my other communities, as I call them.
I say this because I first joined JumpStart as a mentee in the program during my freshman year back in 2019 to help with the transition from high school to college.
When we are freshmen, we are often told to join at least two clubs: one that relates to what we are studying, and one for fun. I think this is one of the best things that can be told to an incoming freshman.
This is because being involved in a club that is related to what you are studying gives you an opportunity to learn more about your chosen field, and you are also given an opportunity for hands-on experience in some cases.
Also, being involved in a club that is not related to what you are studying gives you a break from being focused on your field of study, and you get a chance to still have fun. It helps you not become burnt out by solely focusing on school.
Being involved in clubs and organizations around campus is not just about filling time in your schedule, getting more knowledge in your field or building your portfolio for when you graduate. It is also about meeting and connecting with new people outside of classes and building a network of connections on and sometimes off campus as well.
This is a good thing to do so you have plenty of options when you are looking for jobs or scholarships and need letters of recommendation. You also know there are people there to help you, and you can go to them when you need help.
Being involved in clubs can also help you build closer relationships with professors or your advisor, and it is easier to ask for help when needed or if you need advice on how to deal with a certain situation.
By being involved in these clubs and jobs, I have become friends with people I otherwise would not have met by just going to classes, but I have also built up my resume and portfolio. I have learned things I otherwise would not have by just going to classes and hanging out with my friends.
By being involved, you can also meet and connect with faculty members you would not normally, whether they are other professors or personnel who work in different departments around campus.
A good example of this is that when I worked in dining, I became close with a coworker, and I still see her working around campus in the library or in the student center at Starbucks, and we still talk and catch up if it is not super busy.
I can say that still having that connection with her brightens my day when she sees me and asks how I am doing and what I am up to even though I have not worked with her since before COVID-19 happened.
All of this improves your college experience because you get to see how different things work around campus. Being involved also gives you a unique position to help build things up and make them better for other students before you graduate. You can also bring light to things that happen that other students may not be aware of.
A good example of this that I learned by being involved with SRU’s chapter of the Student Veterans Association is that even though the veterans’ lounge is in a central location on campus by being in the student center, most people who are military-connected are not aware that it is there or that it is not just for veterans. Those who are in the ROTC program on campus can use it, as can those in the National Guard. The same goes for the SVA club; anyone who is military-connected can be a part of the club.
Another good example comes from a classmate and friend, Chloe, who is involved with the Marching Pride, our very own marching band.
She told me that being involved with them is how she met most of her friends and gained a sense of belonging. It also gives her a sense of school pride and camaraderie.
Lastly, being involved also gives her discipline and accountability that she cannot get from other clubs or organizations on campus. She also follows the advice that is given to most students about a fun club or organization and a field of study club or organization because she is also a part of the radio club, and being involved there helps with hands-on experience. She has also had the opportunity to meet and connect with alumni and other students, but it also gives her a safe space to hang out and do homework.