Active Engagement

Ruth Ontiveros, Guest Columnist

Many of us don’t have an active college life. Although the lack of engagement in extracurricular activities can apply to any student from kindergarten through high school, the reasons may differ and engagement is not entirely a reflection of interest. But, as adults in college, we have more control over our own lives, so lack of engagement on campus is mostly excuses.

Having an active life academically can be crucial to succeeding. More involvement in school not only helps you focus more intently academically, but also allows you to make connections and gain more real-world experiences. School engagement lets you pick up skills that prove to play an important part in succeeding.

Connections are important because they offer opportunities like future employment. Sakina Rangwala of The Washington Post writes, “In an August 2009 survey conducted by global outplacement consultancy challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., human resources executives were asked to rate the effectiveness of various job-search methods on a scale of 1 (least effective) to 5 (most effective). Networking averaged a 3.98. About half (48 percent) of the respondents gave networking the highest effectiveness rating of five.”

This 2009 survey tells us the effectiveness of making connections in past years. Living in the same economy, it still proves effective. Today, members of the school district stress the importance of making connections. Websites like LinkedIn exist to help people network professionally. Without networking you can find yourself lost, even after earning a degree. You may be unsure of your next step and have a hard time getting a job. But making connections helps prevent situations like this because it involves reaching out to others. Involving yourself in school lets you meet new people and in turn make connections with those who can help you when you least expect it.

Involvement outside the classroom gives you more real-world experiences to add to your resume and gives you the opportunity to encounter new ideas that are critical in becoming more creative and open minded. Steve Urbon, reports on Temple Gradin, a popular autistic professor of Colorado State University. Gradin spoke in a high school gymnasium about the importance of real-world experiences especially for visual learners like herself. She explained how in the education system people who graduate can’t do practical things. Getting real-world learning experience is a must if you want a smooth transition from college to the real world. Involvement in college gives you the opportunity to gain that experience through actions like participating in activities and joining a club or study group.

More participation leads to a more academically focused environment. For many, there is less motivation at home than in school to do better academically. You are more inclined to avoid procrastination through the support of an effective study group. Study groups can assist you in relieving stress, anxiety or other causes of procrastination by aiding you in understanding the material. They can also help you by understanding the frustrations that often accompany a challenging academic environment. If study groups are not an option, you can also do things like set up an appointment with a tutor at your convenience or go to labs that offer tutors.

Some might reasonably say they do not have time to be more involved in school, or all the services are not available all the time. That can be true, but it is also about time management and setting priorities. Time management can go a long way and help you see that you are actually able to make room in your schedule for the participation that is key in making connections and gaining real-world experiences crucial to your future success.