A special edition of Undergrad Adventures.
I’ve been really lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to hold several leadership positions in clubs and organizations during my college career. I held three positions (activities chair, treasurer and vice president) in Kellogg Honors College Club, and just ended a two-year run as the president of Cal Poly Pomona’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter. This year, I was also the copy editor for The Poly Post. While I can’t deny that having things to put on my resume were a big reason for getting involved, I wanted the chances to meet people across campus and do something to make myself better. As I’ve been wrapping up my responsibilities and help next year’s leaders transition into their new roles, I’ve realized my combined involvement as a student leader has also been a really important part of my growth as a student and as a person.
It made college even more fun.
Planning events for the entire Kellogg Honors College, running Sigma Tau Delta and being part of a student newspaper production all had their fair share of sweat and tears, but they also all had a lot of laughs and good memories. I have a lot of advice for incoming freshmen, but one of the things I would definitely say is to get involved in causes and groups that you enjoy being a part of.
It saved me from commuter syndrome.
A lot of commuters at Cal Poly Pomona get stuck in the “go to school, come home” mentality, and I’m so glad I never even thought about doing that. Being a part of student organizations made me even prouder to be part of many different communities, and it gave me an excuse to be on campus other than for class or work. It is one of the many reasons I am so proud to call myself a Bronco.
The knowledge is priceless.
Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in college have been in the club context. In putting on events and coordinating projects, you learn about what kinds of people you’ll encounter in the workforce and how you’re going to work with them. I think that’s partially why the university allows student clubs and organizations to thrive, as they’re really the perfect learn-by-doing opportunity outside of the classroom. Another thing I’ve come to realize is that you cannot make most things happen without having help, and I worked with some really great people. Some of the most successful events I was a part of were great, collaborative team efforts.
And I feel more confident in myself.
I planned events for big groups of students, kept on top of finances and provided support to my fellow student leaders. I managed many different aspects of an entire student club for two years. I copyedited an entire newspaper for 30 weeks. The next time I’m down on myself, I’m going to remember that I did all these things and still managed to graduate magna cum laude, hold two jobs at one point and took on a large research project.
Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some times when I wanted to quit everything, retreat to my room and sleep for years. But I’m so glad I didn’t. Having the opportunity to be a student leader really did make all the difference.
Do you have thoughts on being a student leader? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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