Editorial: Getting Involved as a Student Prepares you as a Professional

This week's editorial discusses the importance of getting involved and making connections in college. - Photo via Pixabay.com

The profession you hope to be in the future starts with the student you are right now. 

College students juggle quite a bit, from their course work to extracurriculars, to jobs and social life. But where we choose to focus our attention and energy during these critical years will inevitably play a defining role in what we do in the future. And what could mean the difference between landing a job or not, might just depend on the answer to one question: How involved are you on campus?

Getting involved in clubs, organizations and other extracurriculars that the university offers has a number of substantial benefits for students that begin now and carry on into the future. Whether it be contributing weekly articles here at The Whit, or involving yourself in other organizations that pique your interest and pertain to your major, there’s never a bad time to get your foot in the door with these skills and knowledge-building experiences. 

Beyond the obvious— like making friends and meeting new faces within your program— getting involved on campus is highly beneficial in developing your time-management, organizational and leadership skills. 

Here at The Whit, for example, students work directly with an editor to contribute articles, photographs or multimedia content for our weekly paper and website. Throughout this process, students must learn to manage their time in order to meet deadlines, remain organized to complete articles, schedule interviews or fit in special events that need coverage, and balance the rest of their social and academic lives on campus. The more involved students are, the more opportunities arise for leadership positions – like becoming a section editor, copyeditor or managing editor – in which students can put their skills into practice by organizing content, managing a team, handling club finances and more. 

According to an article published by the College of St. Scholastica, time management, among other skills learned through involvement, can be extremely valuable to interested employers in the future. The article states that “Partaking in college clubs and organizations alongside your academic responsibilities allows you to practice not only discipline but also time management… Recruiters and hiring managers like to know that applicants will be able to juggle tasks and handle all the demands of the job.”

In an “Involvement in College Matters” study published by the Center for the Study of Student Life, it was found that students who were highly involved within their university were three times more likely to be considered for a position by interested employers after graduation. Additionally, 18% stated that these students are more “career ready” than those who were not involved. Students that were moderately involved on campus were still two times more likely to be considered by potential employers and 11% more “career ready” than their uninvolved counterparts. 

Similarly, a 2018-2019 graduation survey for Ohio State compared the results of students involved in even just one single extracurricular organization with those who were completely uninvolved at the university, and they found that the involved students were “2.1 times more likely to be satisfied with their overall experience at Ohio State, 1.8 times more likely to have a job offer at the time of graduation, 1.7 times more likely to express interest in attending graduate or professional school.”

It’s no secret that putting your interests, skills and talents to use now will increase your marketability and employment options in the future. Through the people you meet, bonds you form, and work you produce, not only will you build positive networking connections that can assist you through your job-hunt journey, but you will also continue to build a substantial resume with invaluable experience that will set you apart from others looking for similar opportunities. 

In order to discover the possibilities for your future, you must first focus on the opportunities you have right now. Attend a new club, join an organization or volunteer around campus. Lean into your interests and set yourself apart from those around you with the experiences and connections available at your fingertips. 

Future you will thank you. 

For comments/questions about this story, tweet @TheWhitOnline or email Thewhitopinion23@gmail.com.