Student life is hard. Tests, homework and grades can take a toll. So who has time for extracurricular activities? Some students join campus associations and organizations to help fill out their resumes, help the school and fulfill a personal goal. But what does becoming a member of an association/organization require? What should you expect?
As a member of a student association, you broaden your perspective and participate in fun, interesting activities while making new friends and lifelong bonds. But being a member of an association is more than just attending meetings and adding a line to your resume; it takes time and commitment. Sometimes, even the most diligent, studious and dedicated student can be overwhelmed by extracurricular activities.
“Associations are good for making contacts, good for getting involved and meeting people. But one cautionary instruction is that students who are having difficulty maintaining their study hours or students having difficulty with respect to their grade points need to be very careful,” University of La Verne College of Law Professor of Law Ashley Lipson said. “I have seen instances with some active members who got into academic trouble because of the amount of time they committed to their club and then their studies suffered.”
Being a member of a student organization can be satisfying and fulfilling. So do your due diligence and know what you are about to commit to; find the association that best suits you and your goals and aspirations for the school.
Membership in an association can also help you network and get you a job after graduation, said Lipson, who is Faculty Advisor for the Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS) at La Verne Law.
“Some of our members have found opportunities and obtained good jobs because of their participation in the association,” Lipson said. “Because of our particular club, people made contacts. SELS had a purpose and function in addition to dealing with entertainment law; it connects Inland Empire students with the greater Los Angeles area and opens up job opportunities. Students should pay attention when club officers make a pitch to them, they should listen carefully because there may be benefits involved that have very big impacts for them.”
Make sure you:
- Research the organizations at your school and find the one(s) that best suits your goals and aspirations.
- Have the time to commit to an association; you don’t want to do a substandard job, it could reflect negatively on you later.
- Be an active member and participate in meetings and activities.
- Ask questions, be inquisitive and learn from your fellow members; this is your time to soak in information and expand your repertoire of knowledge.
- Help other students in your association; be a leader.
- Get involved in too many organizations; your time is precious and you don’t want to spread yourself too thin.
- Don’t join an organization just because your friends are in it; you should be part of something you are passionate about.
- Don’t miss meetings and activities because you are “too busy” to participate; these are bad habits that can stay with you in your work life.
- Don’t be a silent member, be active and help others and lead by example.
Membership in a student association is not a rite, it’s a privilege. Your duties as a member prepare you for the real world; how you handle those responsibilities can reflect on you many years down the road.
So remember, while student associations are fun and a great way to unwind, being a member means more than just signing your name on a roster.
- Research your school’s organizations and groups and find the one that best fits your goals.
- Don’t join so many associations that you become overwhelmed. Remember, you want to demonstrate your skills and contribute quality work to your organization.
- Be an active member; commit your time efficiently and wholeheartedly. Be passionate about what your doing.
- Remember, finding a balance between school work and your time commitment is important and helps you identify what your limits are.
- Don’t get involved in an association just because your friends happen to be members. Associations aren’t just for making friends and socializing; associations are about achieving goals and making changes for the betterment of your school.
- Help others in your organization, be a mentor and guide younger students. This is your opportunity to practice and use your skills.