By: Peer Career Coach Xochitl Castel
As a college student, you might be bombarded with posters, emails, and Facebook notifications about getting involved with organizations on-campus. Most of the time you hit the trash icon, but let me tell you why you should reconsider.
- Professional Development
Of course, the number one reason to get involved with an organization on-campus is to develop your interpersonal skills and professionalism. This can mean a number of things so I will limit this to the benefits of conferences and workshops.
- Meet Professionals
Apart from being available to students at a highly reduced price (or sometimes free), conferences are great for meeting professionals that are doing the kind of work you aspire to do. It is a great way to stay up-to-date with the latest news about your industry. You can have inspirational and educational conversations with current professionals without feeling like you are taking up too much of their time. They could also become a reference for you when you begin your job search if you make a good impression! Even if you are not looking for a job yet, it is good to practice introducing yourself to others and start making those connections.
- Spend time with your peers outside of class
Traveling with a small group of students from your college is definitely another benefit. You will make a strong connection with like-minded people and have a fun time exploring the city together. This will come in handy when you need a study group or a partner to collaborate with on a project.
- Free food and swag
Last but not least, did I mention free stuff? You are typically fed throughout the day at a conference, which is included in your registration fee. Also, be sure to visit company representatives at the career fair (most conferences have one for students) for free company swag.
- Personal Development
Whether you join a culturally focused organization or a professional one, being involved tells an employer a lot about you.
- You are a leader
Every single job requires teamwork so holding an executive position shows that you are collaborative and are capable of maintaining a managerial position.
- Your passions and interests
Organizations can help employers get a better idea of who you are as a person and what matters to you most. Example: If you are involved in an organization with “sustainability” in the name, an employer can assume that you care about sustainable efforts in your personal life and in the work that you do. This can help the employer decide whether or not their office is a good fit for you and your interests.
- You are a constant learner
Anyone can attend college and learn in the classroom. But, only students who are passionate about their field will get involved in campus organizations. Attending presentations, trainings, and workshops or volunteering shows that you are interested in more than just the surface-level information. You want to dive deep into the world of your field, which is very admirable.
- You are open-minded and sociable
Even if you are not the most extroverted person in your group, getting involved on-campus shows that you are open to new experiences and like to meet new people. Employers are looking to hire personable human beings, not technical robots. You definitely need to have the technical skills to complete tasks, but you should also think about how you might fit in with the company that is hiring.
And finally, it is a lot of fun! You will find people with similar interests that hopefully inspire you to dream big. So do not wait for the next semester to roll in, get involved TODAY.