Everyone knows that college isn’t just about the classes.Sure, going to class, learning how to do things that you might – or might not – use in the real world in hopes that you might someday be able to earn a living, perhaps even in a field you enjoy, is the primary reason for coming to college. After all, in today’s world, a bachelor’s degree or higher, is practically a requirement for finding a decent job.
But honestly, there’s a lot more to it than just going to class, isn’t there?
College is also about finding yourself and your place in life. Without the knowledge that you enjoy economic theory and are a proficient writer, you’re never going to realize that your dream job is writing a nationally syndicated column explaining a fluctuating stock market, rising gas prices and inflation.
Another aspect of college is finding lifelong friends. Sure, most people might keep up with a few friends from high school, but more of the close friends you find at college will be people you can count on years, even decades down the road.
And most of all, college is supposed to be about enjoying the prime years of your life. After commencement, you’re supposed to get out in the real world, get a job and become a working stiff for 40 or 50 years or more. So why not enjoy your youth, and your free time, while you still have it?
One thing can bring all these myriad elements together: finding your niche in any of the several organizations on campus.
At TCU, there are literally hundreds of organizations you can join.
If you’re particularly athletic, join any of the several different club or intramural sports organizations to play flag football, rugby or basketball – to name a few – against other people on campus or at other schools.
If you enjoy music, join a choral group, the symphony orchestra, a jazz band or the marching band.
If you like to cheer your school on in football, basketball or any other NCAA varsity sport, join Hyperfrogs.
If you want to be a world leader, get your start by representing your peers in the Student Government Association.
If you like to write, you just might get a job up here at the Skiff or at Image magazine.
So you see, there’s something for everyone to do. And not only can you find something to suit your interests, you should do everything possible to find a niche community you can call home for a few years.
Some people say it’s impossible to find the time to get involved and still keep your grades up. However, this is simply not true.
I have been very lucky to balance enough things in my life to be involved in two large groups in each of my semesters at TCU: I am a trombone player in the marching band, I’m on the editorial board at the Skiff for the third time and on staff for the seventh semester in a row.
Sure, it’s not always easy to find ample time to devote myself to the activities in my life and still get classwork done, but I’ve made it this far without too many problems. If I can be part of a musical ensemble that takes six hours or more out of my week, work 20-30 hours a week at the paper and still keep my grades high enough to keep my scholarship, surely anyone can find the time to make a group of friends while doing something they enjoy and still graduate on time.
While it’s true that many students must work their way through college and have little free time, there are several campus organizations that take up a minimum amount of time. Several of them even provide paid positions in which students can work.
Enjoying your college years and making social connections with others aren’t the only reasons to get involved. A study that the TCU Retention Data Analysis Committee completed in August reveals that one of the most common reasons why some students leave the university is that they fail to find their niche.
Almost everyone who starts college usually plans to finish, and most plan to finish at the institution where they start. No matter how much you like your classes, if you don’t find any friends to share your time at TCU, you probably won’t enjoy yourself enough to come back.
Ultimately, the decision to get involved on campus lies with each individual student. However, the fact remains that most students enjoy college more when they find a group in which they can belong and discover how much they enjoy doing something.
Just something to think about.
Associate Editor Jarod Daily is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Keller.