Take a stroll through campus during the summer months, and you will quickly find that Eastern Michigan University’s campus is dead. Few people walk the sidewalks, resident advisors aren’t nearly as stressed and parking is relatively easy to find. Fortunately, those days are over.
Orientation for Eastern’s incoming class of transfer, international and first year students recently drew to a close. It is worth noting that this incoming class is historic in that it’s the largest class in EMU history with more than 2,500 students.
I had the privilege of being a new student orientation assistant for this incoming class and feel it pertinent and ever relevant to remind students of some advice: Your parents did more for you than you realize, having no money is normal and getting involved on campus is important to a collegiate experience.
Especially for freshmen, the latter should be given particular attention to for multiple reasons.
What does everyone want when they come to college? A great education, memories that will last a lifetime and friends: joining a student organization can give you all of those. From my personal experience, most of my relationships were formed because of an organization that I joined.
In terms of procuring a great education student organizations can be a tremendous help. Looking beyond the classroom, they teach members incredibly valuable life lessons and skills involving leadership, cooperation, compromise, humility, civic engagement and so on. Even if one digests an entire ocean of knowledge, it is most likely worthless if they haven’t an ounce of experience with people.
EMU is a hub for student organizations as it boasts more than 200. Ranging from Greek Life to Eagle Nation to His House Christian Fellowship, these clubs can offer a unique opportunity to discover one’s own interests.
Let us not forget that college is typically a time when most of us are the most malleable and impressionable. Why then, wouldn’t we surround ourselves with people who share our interests and passion? Why wouldn’t we put ourselves in a position to learn more about ourselves and what makes us tick?
To be fair, I understand that not every student has a massive amount of disposable time to utilize on “petty” affairs like finding new interests. Financial burdens, familial obligations or a difficult class load can severely limit one’s amount of time and effort that would otherwise be available.
With that said, one thing overlooked when talking about getting involved on campus is that your grades come first. So we should be careful not to put organizations above schoolwork. We are all ultimately here to get an education (in the narrowest possible sense, a degree), so we cannot lose sight of that fact. Also, freshmen, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a semester to acclimate yourself to the change in culture and new expectations of you.
Even with all those precautions and obstacles, it is still a worthwhile venture to be involved. After being involved with new student orientation alone, I’ve already met countless people, and in the process padded my resume. So involvement is not nearly a waste of time or a petty activity.
When finding a club, I would recommend that you take some time to think about what catches your interests and what kinds of experiences you want. There is almost certainly one that can match up with you and would love your ideas and contributions.
There is nothing worse than hearing about someone who simply sits in their dorm room after class, too scared to get out and make connections. There are networks, memories and friends to be made; you just have to seize upon them. So spread your wings Eagles and get involved.
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