This is a guest post by our Campus Ambassador Taylor Ellis from Ball State University.
We’ve all been that freshman during orientation being bombarded with information about college life. One of the things we hear most is “get involved,” but instead of listening to this valuable advice many of us tell ourselves that we’ll get involved when we’re ready and settled in at school.
While many see getting involved in student organizations as something to do when you become an upperclassman and are comfortable with more responsibility, I believe it’s actually more valuable to get involved the moment you arrive at school.
From my personal experience at Ball State, I’ve found that getting involved is actually what helped me feel more comfortable settling into my new college life. Not only did I meet a ton of new people by getting involved in student organizations, but I also grew as an individual by pushing myself to take on responsibilities within the organizations.
For those of us majoring in journalism or communication fields, we have no choice but to get involved if we want to have something on our resume one day when we go to interview for jobs. However, the weird thing is, I still see many of my peers not getting involved in student media or organizations until there junior or senior year, when it’s usually too late to get a lot of experience or work your way up to leadership rolls.
Many claim that they have no time or that they will get involved when they need to apply for internships. While this may work for some, I think it’s a much safer route to make sure you have done all you can in college to guarantee you will get some type of job in your chosen career field when you graduate. Why not be safe rather than sorry, right? You have to have something on your resumé eventually, so why not start sooner rather than later?
I don’t know, maybe that’s just me, but it seems to be working so far. I immediately became involved with my online and print magazine Ball Bearings and volunteered for any story I could take. I admit it was stressful at times, and that I had no idea what I was doing when I first started; however what I realized is that if you are willing to learn, people will want to teach you. Upperclassmen who are usually in charge of the organizations want them to continue, so if they don’t teach someone how to do their work, then the organization will cease to exist eventually.
Through volunteering for stories and various responsibilities within Ball Bearings my freshman year, I was asked to apply for a leadership position on the editorial board of the magazine as an online producer. I ended up getting the position as a sophomore due to the simple fact that I was one of the only freshman that was actually involved all year. It was that simple, just stay involved, and volunteer when opportunities or stories present themselves.
I’m not going to lie, being a leader as a sophomore was one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done due to the fact that I still feel that I have so much to learn. However, what I’ve discovered is it’s ok to learn as you go and put yourself out there, even if you have no clue what you are doing : ) You will always be taught if you are willing to learn!