Don’t jeopardize your college experience- get the skills you need to set yourself apart from the rest and make your education about more than just attending classes
KresLynn Knouse | Features Editor | @kreslynn
I remember what it was like being a freshman. As the first in my family to pursue a degree and still unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, I felt like there was a great distance between me and the thousands of determined students I went to school with.
I’d hear stories in class about students going on humanitarian trips to foreign countries, or spending a weekend in New York for a conference related to their major, or even landing an internship with Ferrari in Italy. I knew there were great opportunities around me, but I didn’t pursue them.
I believed then that it was enough to just go to class every day and do what was expected of me until I earned my degree. I never knew what was going on around campus and didn’t really identify with the students who were openly passionate about their field of study. I’ve always enjoyed and seen the value in learning, but the inadequacy I felt during my first year in school made it close to becoming my last.
Fed up with the monotony and tired of feeling like I was just another UVID, I decided to change my major and join a student organization. My role as a student suddenly had purpose again, even though I became twice as busy. Doing what I love while also gaining experience for my career is exactly what was absent during my freshman year, and I was just one decision away from missing out on it all.
Thankfully, my continued involvement on campus through the UVU Review has rekindled my passion for learning and has made me strive to reach my full potential. So many freshmen settle for feeling like there’s nothing special about them, or that they’re just a number, or think a diploma alone will be enough to land a job, but none of these statements are ever true.
The only thing preventing you from loving your college experience are your own inhibitions, so don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re here for perfect attendance. Give yourself the time to gain experience beyond the classroom, whether it’s your first year as a college student or your sixth.
Getting involved with student organizations along with volunteer work and internships will add diversity to your resume, provide networking and travel opportunities, and give your time working toward a degree more meaning. It can also help ease the burden of paying for school as many of these opportunities involve some form of tuition assistance.
When you hear your fellow students and professors sharing stories about a study abroad or service trip, ask them how you can be a part of it. Employers aren’t looking for perfect grades, they’re looking for students who are passionate about their field and take every opportunity they can to explore their potential.
So join a club, apply for a position with UVUSA, write for the paper, work with the service council, or more simply: do what you love- it’s why you’re here.