Beyond the Classroom: Getting Involved
As I sit here in the Traveler office on a Sunday afternoon, the idea of this being my last column makes me uneasy. We just had our last story budget meeting. I’m RSVPing “yes” to “last night in Fayetteville” nights out with friends, and I’m finishing my last assignments for the semester. This time of year, there are a lot of “lasts,” and a part of me is sad that the year is coming to an end.
Though I look forward to a much needed summer break, counting down the months to graduation (and for some of us, the days) makes my heart sink.
For my goodbye column, I dont have a sob-story or important life lesson to share – I simply want to urge you to get involved at the UA. The benefits are overwhelming, the people you meet are astounding and the time you have will be one you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
When I came to the UA in 2008, I was determined to get involved in an organization. In my first semester alone I became a member at seven different RSOs and ate more free pizza than in my fours years at the UA. Needless to say, I couldn’t keep up with the meetings and events, my school workload got more strenuous, and I slowly but surely dropped out of every organization until the end of my sophomore year.
By leaving the RSOs I was a part of, I put up a barrier for myself and shorted my college experience for three long semesters.
It wasn’t until I changed my major and came to the journalism department that I considered getting involved in a major-related organization. “What did I have to lose?” I thought as I signed up to be a photographer for the yearbook and went into my interview. Now, two years later, I have made countless friends, had the opportunity to work in my major, and have truly made my time here at the UA worthwhile.
From starting out as a photographer to becoming an editor at the newspaper, my decision to get involved on campus is the only reason I am here writing today.
Some of my best friends are the people I work with, and I have the opportunity to meet new people every day. I have had opportunities to work outside of the classroom because of my student involvement and have learned how to be a better journalist through these clubs and organizations.
Simply put: through taking my interests beyond the classroom, I got to have my college experience. Making the decision to get involved can give you an unforgettable time here, too.
Whether you are signing up for your sophomore year or your first semester as a graduate student, I urge you to get involved somewhere on campus. There are hundreds of RSOs on this campus that are always looking include more students. Whether it’s a religious organization, student government position or major-related club you are interested in, take a step outside of your comfort zone and get involved. I can guarantee you won’t regret it – the people you meet, the things you do and the joy you get from becoming an integral part of this campus are all part of the “college experience” we are urged by others to get.
Don’t take on too much, but don’t push getting involved to the sideline. Before you know it, your time here will be over and you will wish that you had done more.
If I could share something with others about my time here at the UA, it would be to cherish the time you have here, to meet as many people as possible have as many experiences as you can.
Most of us will only get one opportunity go to college – we should make the most of it and take advantage of everything the UA has to offer.
As the year comes to a close, I encourage you to research RSOs over the summer, commit to going to Razorbash in the fall (it’s a great way for any student to find out everything that is offered), and prepare for an upcoming year that goes beyond classroom learning.
Emily Rhodes is a journalism and art major, and the opinion editor.
Her column appears every other Monday.