Students should understand the benefits of getting involved

Being active in your field of choice early on increases the likeliness of future success

There is no denying that college life is busy. The average student's planner is filled with lists of commitments, exams and work schedules. But, college is also a time to grow, make memories and develop foundations for the future.

Amongst all of the academic and social commitments, students often forget how critical networking and resume building are. It is drilled into our heads, but many students simply put professional experience off, even as graduation quickly approaches. 

CiCi McAllister

Graphic published on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017.

There is significantly more pressure and higher expectations to build a perfect resume than there was when our parents went to college — especially as companies become increasingly digital.

College is the ideal time for students to gain experience in the fields that they hope to pursue. Although students are paying thousands of dollars for an education, the classroom can only take students so far. 

Ultimately, the networks and skills students build outside of the classroom are what will build a successful career.

For example, the colleagues and employers students meet in day-to-day interactions are valuable contacts, which may prove to be very beneficial in the future.

Having contacts in a field that one is interested in pursuing is a great advantage. 

"At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published," Matt Youngquist, president of Career Horizons, said in an NPR article.  "And yet most people – they are spending 70 or 80 percent of their time surfing the net versus getting out there, talking to employers, taking some chances (and) realizing that the vast majority of hiring is friends and acquaintances hiring other trusted friends and acquaintances."

It is not what you know – it is who you know.

"A few of the benefits of getting involved in student organizations at the University are the ability to learn how to work in a team setting, enhance your communication skills, as well as enhancing your ability to problem solve," ASU Associate Dean of Students Ronald Briggs wrote in an email. "These are all key attributes employers find critical in the success of their respective staff."

Students who begin to be active in their career fields early will be more successful after graduation. They will be more marketable to employers and more confident in their abilities.

"The quickest way to learn about involvement opportunities is to connect with the Office of Student Engagement or visit their website to learn about clubs and organizations," Briggs wrote in an email.

Networking and skill building increase chances of success outside of the classroom, but also help students thrive in the classroom, as well. 

Students who are busy have to prioritize tasks, which develops a solid sense of time management. Mistakes will likely be made, but learning how to juggle multiple responsibilities is a part of being in college.

"Involvement in clubs and organizations provides opportunities to enhance participants' leadership and thought-process skills, communication skills, the ability to affectively work in a team setting and much more." Briggs said. "Students who are involved in clubs are advised by faculty and staff at the University, which is a great way to increase their network of contacts..."

Getting involved early on will give students a competitive edge over their peers. This is exceptionally important in today's job market, where expectations for students continue to grow and employers become more meticulous about who they hire.

Classroom responsibilities and social activities are important and encouraged, but students must get involved in clubs, organizations or companies for their respective majors.

Coming out of college, success is not guaranteed — it will come to those who work for it.


Reach the columnist at adunn11@asu.edu or follow @adrienne_dunn on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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