Have you ever considered getting more involved on campus? And, just to be clear, by “getting involved,” we don’t mean spearheading a beer pong tournament in your dorm, orchestrating an elaborate prank on the floor below you, or organizing a group of friends to sunbathe on the quad. No, we’re talking about joining an actual club or organization on campus.
The activities we just mentioned may take up the majority of your free time while you’re in school—and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that—but it might be worth your time to supplement your shenanigans by joining an official club or organization. Guest writer Alexandra de Leon has three seriously compelling reasons why this is a good idea.
College is already time-consuming with trying to juggle homework, research papers, tests, and a social life. Why should you add more to your plate by getting involved with extracurricular activities!? Because they really do give you an extra boost after college!
In my four years at San Diego State University, I was involved in many clubs and was on the executive board for American Marketing Association and AB Samahan, a Filipino culture club. Being involved in these clubs helped me grow personally and professionally. Here are just a few of the ways joining a student org can help you.
1. You’ll discover if you’re in the right major or career path.
Attending events held by student organizations can lead you to discover if you’re in the right major or career path. A friend of mine attended an Engineers Without Borders event because of the free pizza, and left with the decision to change her major from Astronomy to Civil Engineering. She had learned so much about engineering and the career options from one of the members that she decided Engineering was the right major for her.
Joining a student organization gives you the option to explore a career without fully committing. Professional orgs usually have speaking engagements from professionals already in the field sharing their insight (and employers sometimes reach out to student clubs or organizations rather than to the career services office so they can talk to smaller groups of students who have the majors and skills they’re looking for). This is your chance to learn more about what it’s really like to work in a specific field and get noticed by potential employers.
2. You’ll find out about internship/job opportunities.
I found a job just by looking at AB Samahan’s Facebook page. Ava, a girl who was on AB Samahan’s e-board with me, posted a job opening at KPBS, the public TV and radio station in San Diego. I immediately Facebook messaged Ava and told her I was interested in the position. Not only did she get me an interview, but she gave me a great recommendation and I landed the job!
Student orgs are the ultimate job-finding tool. They’re not only good for networking with other students with like-minded interests, but many professional orgs host mixers for students and professionals already working in the field. Professional orgs also usually have job boards exclusively for their members. Or, you might get lucky like I did and stumble upon an alumni posting on your club’s Facebook page!
3. You’ll develop skills that can be used in the workforce.
Besides giving you the opportunity to develop important soft skills like teamwork and communication, student organizations can help you develop hard skills. At one of our American Marketing Association meetings, a marketing professional came in and gave us a tutorial on how to use WordPress. I’ve used WordPress in my first job out of college frequently, and thanks to the tutorial I attended, it helped me stand out as an employee.
Be on the lookout for special workshops held by student organizations that teach a new skill. There should be plenty on how to polish your résumé, interview, and network. And sometimes you’ll find a specialty workshop to learn a new skill like HTML or writing press releases (or something that’s relevant to your industry/field).
The takeaway of this post is: Get involved! Whether it’s intramural sports, theater, or a cultural or professional org, just by participating you’ll meet new people and learn more about yourself. So go ahead and make some time to check out a student club you’re interested in—it might even lead you to a new job!
Homework time! Find one or two clubs or organizations on campus you’d like to join. If you’re not sure about your career path or industry yet, find one that sounds cool and go for the free pizza. You never know what’ll come of it!
Alexandra de Leon claims to be a true California girl, having lived in both Southern California and Northern California. She doesn’t think she’ll ever leave because she’s scared of experiencing this so-called season called “winter.” Follow her on Twitter @alideleonsf where she tweets about funny commercials and her latest adventures in San Francisco.