Struggling college students

My name is Jarvis Washington and I graduated in May 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Barry University. I have been accepted into the Sports Management Master’s Program at Barry University and plan to begin the journey to two Master’s Degrees in January 2015. During my time at Barry, I was a member of the Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Society, a member of the Caribbean Student Association, and the Secretary for Men Achieving Excellence, Leadership, and Success (M.A.L.E.S.) for 2 consecutive years
Picture this: It’s the first day and you’re already done with classes at one o’clock. You don’t want to go back to your room, staring at the wall while doing absolutely nothing. So the next best thing to do is to join an organization on campus to kill some of that free time. Sounds like a plan right?

Wrong! I was one of those people, except I had an Xbox to keep me company while my roommate was out making all the friends. Getting involved on campus was definitely one of the hardest things for me to do. It was so hard that I didn’t join my first organization until the end of my sophomore year.
This isn’t an easy process though. It’s something that one should put some time an effort into because in most cases, it can have an impact on your collegiate career. So here were some of my struggles and the lessons that I learned from them:

• What was the “right” organization for me? My school, like most do, had campus involvement fairs that displayed all the organizations on campus. From fraternities/sororities to major-based clubs to student government association, there are many options to choose from. Unfortunately I wasn’t the social type, so I never went to any of the four involvement fairs before joining my first club. I started playing pickup football with some friends of mine and they invited me out to their meeting. While sitting in the meeting, I came to realize that the group’s main focus was to build a better male population around campus through teaching leadership tactics. A few days later, I ended up holding an Executive Board position my junior and senior years.
o My advice: Join an organization that represents who you are as a person. If you’re looking for a consistent group of friends, the fraternity/sorority lifestyle is probably for you. If being a leader is your forte, then join SGA. Joining the right club can not only hone the current skills you possess, but it can help develop new ones.
• Breaking out the “Comfort Zone”: I was the super quiet, shy guy coming into one of the most diverse schools in the country. I was comfortable enough to interact with my peers inside the classroom, but wanted absolutely nothing to do with them elsewhere. It still wasn’t enough though. I needed something to else to complete my college experience and college is the one place that forces everybody out of their comfort zone. So I decided to join the Caribbean Student Association or CSA for short. I have no ties to the Caribbean whatsoever but I wanted to learn about the different people and cultures that came along with being from there.
o My advice: As cliché as this may sound, NEVER be afraid to do something different. I was terrified of joining CSA because I felt like I wouldn’t be accepted, but they welcomed me with open arms. Breaking out of my comfort zone helped me gain extensive knowledge about the various Caribbean islands and their cultures.
• Time…will I have enough? One of my biggest fears was potentially joining too many clubs that I wouldn’t have enough time to focus on my studies. Luckily, I set my limit at 3 organizations, but dedicated the majority of my time to the one where I held an E-board position.
o My advice: Don’t spread yourself too thin. Everyone’s major is different and presents their own time management issues. For example, I was a business management major so all my classes were early in the morning which allowed for ample time in the afternoons to pursue other ventures. Others such as nursing and biology majors had both lecture and lab sessions which put constraints on what extracurricular activities they could handle. Participating in multiple clubs is an excellent way to foster some time management skills.
Joining clubs and organizations is not only a great way to kill some extra time, but teaches one of the most critical skills adults need to have, NETWORKING.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest