By Dan Howlin
Students across the country, at both community colleges and four year universities need to be more involved. For students at a community college, getting involved with a club or organization can be tough. Community college students are often stuck in the never ending cycle of school, work and homework. Some students feel they don’t have the time, and some think joining a club is “corny” or “stupid” and just want to go to school, and leave as soon as possible. In reality, it’s not as time consuming as people think and can actually have a positive impact on students.
More students need to participate within the school. Joining a club or organization gives students a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, being involved also helps students academically and for the future.
In studies done by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) they found that students who join clubs get better grades than those who don’t participate. Participation and grades have a direct correlation. When a student is involved at the school, they feel more motivated to do well. Joining a club or organization also motivates students outside the classroom. Students who are a part of something are also more likely to be organized and knowledgeable when it comes to their future.
One major problem concerning students and participation is students feel nervous or shy about joining a club. They feel they won’t be welcomed and won’t fit in because “everyone knows each other already.” In reality it’s the exact opposite, clubs are constantly looking for new members and would probably be ecstatic seeing a new face walk through the door at one of their meetings. Not only does joining a club help in the way of making friends, it also allows students to make connections and contacts. Interacting with students that have common career goals can open countless doors. By joining a club or organization students are getting their name out there.
Joining a club can also give students a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Seeing a group of people work hard to accomplish something often brings people closer together. This is why joining a club that actually works toward and produces something, such as a publication or community service club are often the most rewarding clubs to join. Students get a sense of fulfillment that they wouldn’t get by just hanging out in the library or cafeteria. Students feel they won’t fit in when they join a club but in reality, joining a club is the best way to make friends at a community college, because when students join a club, they share interests and have a lot in common with those around them.
Students have a million different reasons for not joining a club, saying things like “I won’t fit in” “It’s too time consuming”, “I don’t like the way the run things” but the excuses must stop. You will get nowhere in life by making excuses. The best way to get involved is to actually go to a meeting, don’t just go but what you hear. It’s easy to make assumptions from the outside, you’ll never know until you try it.
There are many solutions to the problem of students not participating on campus. One idea is giving students who participate some kind of internship credit. If a student’s joins something like a publication or a community service club there should be options to earn something like internship credits or money off their tuition, but only if they truly participate. Another way to help with the problem is raising awareness. Schools can raise awareness for their clubs by having club representatives at things like open houses and orientations. Clubs could also set up certain times to go into things like freshman seminar classes.