By Christine Adler
Why should college students get involved with student organizations and even be on executive boards?
Students may wonder if they should become involved in a student organization. I’d say yes! Student organizations are a great place to meet new friends, stay active on campus and learn a little more about something which interests you. Whether you are considering joining a cultural, professional or even social organization, I’d suggest that you do it…and that if you find one that you really like, you get more involved by running for an executive board position. Here’s why.
College Students: How Student Organizations Benefit You
It’s an Opportunity for Networking
Student organizations are filled with motivated young people! You might meet people who can be really helpful in your future – someone who has taken the class you are enrolling in, someone who works at a company which is looking for interns or maybe someone who can tell you about great resources for getting hired after graduation. These people gather together to have some fun and make some friends in the midst of their busy schedules and you can often make great connections at the same time.
You increase this likelihood even more if you become involved with a professional organization. These orgs are meant specifically to learn more about your chosen field. Whether business, engineering or journalism, almost every college campus has organizations that are flooded with students who want to help and be helped as they prepare to take the next big step in their lives.
It Shows Employers You can Handle Multiple Responsibilities
Everyone knows that college life can be a bit hectic. Aside from class and homework, many students work in order to supplement their income, or even to get through school. Joining a student organization might seem like you’re just adding another thing to your plate, but there are benefits to that! In the work force, it is rare to ever get one task assigned at a time. Normally it goes something like this: do A and also do B but before B do P and in between P and B do X. Once you’ve translated the tasks into something that seems like English, the next step is to figure out which assignments have highest priority and how to complete them all most efficiently. This is a learned skill and being in a student organization, especially on the executive board of your org, shows the employer that you’ve had some practice.
It Gives You Some Real World Experience
Being on the executive board for a student organization can be a challenge. You’ve normally got somewhere between seven and thirteen personalities discussing (and sometimes arguing) the direction to take the organization, planning events and keeping a budget. Half of the challenge is doing those things effectively. The second half of the challenge is working with your fellow executive board members. Imagine, at 5:00 on a Sunday afternoon you sit around a large table planning the semester’s events. You’ve got underclassmen and grad students, math majors and history buffs, men and women, all put together to make a unified decision. Yes, take it from me, this can be a challenge. But it’s a challenge worth taking. You will learn how to choose your battles, how to deal with people who are not like you and how to communicate better. Plus, depending on your position, you can learn even more. Treasurers learn to keep a budget and keep track of both past and future spending. Directors of Activities learn to stay organized and keep track of a multi-week or even multi-month project as they are coordinating events. Presidents get extraordinary training in leading a diverse and sometimes difficult group of people. These skills are wildly important on the job, and you will likely find that some of the obstacles you find in the workplace aren’t so different from those you’ve already conquered with your executive board.
Aside from the fun you can have while being a part of a student organization, there are also many practical benefits for college students. If you are on the fence, why not jump in? The experiences will be worth the hassle and you’ll come out with lasting memories and a newly polished skill set!
Christine Adler is a USF graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree. Although her formal education is in the technical sciences, her practical background is in promotions. These diverse experiences have given her an uncommon, yet very useful, skill-set. Whether giving a presentation, launching a campaign or talking one on one with candidates or employers, Christine is always up for the task. In her free time, Christine enjoys listening to music, having good conversations with friends, trying new foods and giving back. Christine is a campaign manager for HireMeCampaign, a company offering a new and innovative approach to the job search.