I have two favorite times during the year. One of them is January 1. I love setting new resolutions and setting myself up for success for the following year. My second favorite time of the year is August, when school is starting up again.
So why August, you may ask? I think that it can allow for a fresh start. Maybe last year wasn’t your greatest. Or maybe it was. But the great thing about life is that you can always be better and continue to grow. I am a firm believer that being involved on campus can truly make your college experience. Being involved, to me, means being in a club or organization outside of Sigma Kappa. It is actually in Sigma Kappa’s Standards of Excellence criteria that chapter members hold leadership positions outside of Sigma Kappa. You can be an active member of your community AND help your Sigma Kappa chapter succeed in Standards of Excellence at the same time! How great!
The generation that we are living in is different than the ones that have come before us. Many of our peers are attending two-year or four-year institutions. This means that more people are receiving their college degree, which in turn makes it somewhat less valuable. Going into the job market is not as simple as walking out with that piece of paper and snagging your dream job. Employers are looking for unique candidates who have the skills that will fit best with their company.
This is more than just a resume builder. Employers are looking for communication skills, teamwork and collaboration skills, adaptability, problem solving, and conflict resolution. These are called soft skills. Soft skills are not taught in the classroom very often, but the outlet for college students to develop them is through involvement on campus.
A great thing about involvement is that you can tailor it to what makes you thrive. If you are not into science, maybe joining the chemistry club is not the best choice for you. Maybe student government is something that intrigues you. You could become involved in that. If you do not want to hold a position in student government, you can be a part of the house for your institution. Involvement can start small.
For me, I became a resident assistant and really found my calling for leadership and personal development of others. I found my passion for student affairs through my first involvement in this position. This showed me how to be a role model for my peers. This is something that was always a little harder for me, but it gave me the qualities to be a successful leader. During my time as an RA, I even got to go through diversity trainings that opened my eyes to many different issues we face in our world.
Through my RA position, I realized how much I enjoyed leadership, and I wanted to be more involved in that, so I became a leadership ambassador on my campus. This organization allowed me to facilitate leadership and service workshops on my campus. I even got to create a workshop with my peers to present during my university’s leadership conference. It helped me develop essential facilitation skills that I use now in LC world, and will continue to use.
Also understanding the need to be involved in philanthropic organizations is so important. Sigma Kappa has a big hand in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, but there are other great causes that you can get involved in. One that I always enjoyed was Dance Marathon. A lot of institutions have Dance Marathons; they are sometimes called by other names. At my institution it was called, Owlthon. We danced for 13.1 hours to raise money and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. It was something I looked forward to each year. I was really able to connect with our value of service, and truly give back to my community in more ways, which is such a great feeling. Understanding the importance of service and philanthropy is important after college as well.
You can look on your school’s student activities page online to find a list of clubs and organizations. Most institutions also have club fairs that you can attend at the beginning of the school year. You can walk around and meet different students in these organizations, and find where you fit best.
The great thing about involvement is that it can show you things that you never knew about yourself. You can find yourself, just like many of you have probably found yourselves in Sigma Kappa. I encourage you to reach outside of your comfort zone and really take a leap of faith when it comes to being involved because it can truly help you in the future.