Find ways to get more from your college life
Starting college is a stressful time in anyone’s life. Between a different environment, a heavier workload and trying to make new social ties, sometimes an academic schedule alone is enough to send someone into a panic.
But while the number one priority is succeeding in our various courses, it’s also important not to miss the amazing opportunities available. College is a time for experiencing new things, and there’s no better way to do so than in the community environment of one of PSU’s student-run groups.
Across the board, all PSU student groups have lower freshman and sophomore attendance this year. Becoming part of a group early and continuing on through your education can be extremely beneficial. Not only do you earn a deeper appreciation for your given organization, but you may even find yourself working your way onto the executive board for a whole new experience in leadership.
Finding activities you can connect with on both a mental and physical level can be incredibly enjoyable. Joining clubs involving physical fitness is a way to relieve the stresses of academia and do something positive for your body simultaneously.
Take, for instance, the Medieval Culture and Combat club. While their major focus is educating members on weapons and fighting tactics of medieval societies, they also provide historical lectures, combat training and are hoping to organize an on-campus Renaissance fair.
“We understand the stigma that comes with running a club such as this, but we want people to know we are not like the Internet videos of people throwing fireballs or something like that,” said Joseph Pucket, second officer of the MCC club. “We practice, and apply practical tactical applications of combat [from] that time.”
Or perhaps more traditional sports catch your fancy. The crew club takes even those with zero experience in rowing and teaches them how to be a strong and competitive member of the sport. Through group workouts and promoting healthy habits, crew club shows each rower how to obtain their best form and understand the discipline that is the foundation for the sport.
“Everyone comes in as strangers and walks away with 22 new friends by the end of the year,” said crew president Emily Siegel.
Joining a student organization can also present ways for students to pursue things that interest them, even when they are not related to their major. Just because you have settled on one given path does not mean there are less options for being a well-rounded student.
“Any student, regardless of major, can get involved,” said Betsy Konop, co-coordinator of the Art History Student Association.
“Our focus is connecting students to arts professionals, spotlighting the work that these professionals do and helping students get a better idea of how they can scrap together resources and pursue work in the arts,” Konop said.
There are also ample ways to become an advocate for a cause you care about. A multitude of student groups are dedicated to voicing their opinions and seeking change for subjects that matter to them.
PSU’s Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, for example, bands together weekly and educate students on ways to support positive policies based on science and common sense in order to improve public health and safety.
“We want to help students become effective political activists, even if they currently have no experience,” said Romain Bonilla, PSU SSDP chapter director. “Several students, including freshmen, have taken the lead of certain projects, from fundraising to games. Our officers empower students in those endeavors by coordinating resources, providing advice and guidance.”
It’s important to not ignore options that you don’t necessarily have the skills for yet. Sometimes dedication and enthusiasm are the only characteristics you will need. PSU-TV is one student-run resource which is always looking for new contributors and appreciates support from any student, regardless of their background.
“Once we hire our senior editor and lead camera, we’ll be offering training sessions to students who want to learn more about the equipment and programs,” said Lucila Cejas Epple, PSU-TV’s station manager. “Whether you like editing, writing segments, graphic design or any other matter of subjects, there are always ways to get involved.”
All too often it’s at the end of our academic career we actually become aware of how many awesome opportunities we missed. Take a chance and get involved with some like-minded students who will build up your knowledge and skills, and probably bulk up your circle of friends. There are simply too many options out there to make excuses for why you shouldn’t get more from your time in college.
There is no better time than the present to find your passion and follow it as far as you can.
For more information on these groups and the rest of PSU’s student organizations, check out PSU’s student groups and organizations website at salpsync.orgsync.com.