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Why Is Campus Involvement Important?

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I was not at all involved in high school. I joined the National Honor Society like everyone else, but I never really did any extracurriculars. I only started joining different organizations in college because my best friend did, and being involved made a HUGE difference in my personal growth. I saw a lot of changes in myself during my time at the Jindal School, both personally and professionally, thanks to the different clubs that I joined. There are so many benefits to being involved on campus, and I highly recommend becoming involved as early as you can.

Learn Qualitative Skills

Your classes teach you the quantitative skills and show you how to get the job done. But what about working with others? Sure, your group projects give you a little bit of qualitative experience, but being involved as an officer in a student organization is a completely different experience. You learn how to manage people and how to handle the logistics of events. In class, you may be working with five people for your grades. In a student organization, you may be putting on events that could impact many more individuals.

Even if you're not an officer, attending student club events is still beneficial. I was incredibly shy in high school, but making myself go to organization meetings on campus helped give me the confidence I needed to effectively network. Honestly, practicing your small talk will be helpful for the future. You might as well start practicing while everyone is as awkward as you are.

Meet Different People

Especially if you get involved in an organization outside the Jindal School, you are going to meet many different students who you might otherwise never come across. Students with backgrounds different from yours make the BEST connections in the future. You will meet a lot of business students in your classes, but only through being involved on campus will you get to meet students in different schools. They usually have a new point of view and can open your eyes to a new perspective.

Not only will you meet unique students, but being involved on campus also gives you a better opportunity to get to know professors, staff members and department leaders. Your perfect mentor might not teach one of your classes, but you could meet that person through working with an organization. I met one of my favorite professors through the JSOM Book Club about two years before I was able to take one of his courses.

Participating in academic extracurriculars can also introduce you to people outside the University. You might have the opportunity to bring speakers to the school, or you may visit a corporate campus. Joining different student organizations will help introduce you to people off campus as well, further broadening your connections.

Get Recruitment Bonus Points

I went to college. I know that classes are tough, but they do not take up all of your time. How do you fill the free time? If you had a part-time job or were in a variety of clubs, you look good. If you do not have any campus involvement on your résumé, it makes recruiters curious as to what you do all day: — “Do I really want to hire someone who spends all of their time watching Netflix?” — Even if you aren't involved at the officer level, at least saying "once a week I go to accounting club meetings" shows your interest in the field.

Especially if you are a full-time student, look at your university experience as a full-time job. You're in class for 15 to18 hours a week, but now pretend you have a 40-hour job. You'll need to do homework and study, but you can likely squeeze in an organization meeting for an hour or two each week.

So you see the benefits, but how do you actually get involved on campus? An easy way to start is to follow the Jindal School and potential student organizations on social media, and you'll see when there are interesting events going on. Start showing up, and if you feel passionate enough about an organization, consider becoming an officer. My first semester on campus, I went to a lot of different club meetings just to see where I would fit in. The first step is just showing up; you can then see where it goes from there!

Michelle Abuda

J. Michelle Abuda earned her BS in Management Information Systems and MS in Business Analytics from the Naveen Jindal School of Management. Currently, she works at Crowe Horwath as a Regulatory Compliance Risk Consultant in the Columbus, Ohio office. During her time at JSOM, she was actively involved as a leader on the Dean's Council. She helped found the JSOM Book Club, as well as the TEDxUTD Club. Read more articles

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