Involvement could mean difference between employment, unemployment

Courtney Gilder

Involvement is something that has been preached to us since we came to Spirit Days or Mustangs Rally. Every time somebody new got on stage, it was about finding our niche on campus. Find something that fits your interests or create a new group on campus.

I finally understand why getting involved is important. Studies tell us that getting involved keeps your GPA high and wanting to come back to school each semester. But the studies cover everything. They don’t tell you that through the ups and the downs, the friendships made in extracurriculars are usually much stronger than those made in the classroom, and they surely don’t tell you about the networking skills you acquire through involvement.

Getting involved can keep GPAs high because groups like Greek Life, for example, require a minimum GPA of its members. But while maintaining a 4.0 should be our goal, our GPAs are not the first thing employers look at when hiring candidates. Employers look at involvement, they look at demonstrations of leadership.

Trust, knowledge and networking have kept me involved throughout my college years, and through my involvement in band I was able to take a trip to San Antonio for the Texas Music Educators Association convention last week. On the surface this means nothing for me because I’m not going to school for music education, but the TMEA convention meant networking opportunities for me.

I met people I would have never met here on campus. I met alumni, composers and directors to help me in my future outside of Midwestern State. College life is about meeting people and making connections, but those connections cannot be made without first getting involved in extracurriculars.

Start now. Find something interesting or something totally new. This is a small school, but we have more than 100 opportunities to get involved outside of the classroom, so utilize them. Whether it is just attending WeConnect, joining a band or attending an SGA meeting, get involved and meet people.

Make lasting connections because when you walk the stage to get your diploma, that’s it. Opportunities to network are seldom handed to you after graduation like they are in college. It’s time to step out in the real world and find a job, and knowing someone who might want to hire. Utilize the fun times you have in college as a student because the world is an ugly place and it’s not getting any prettier.

The connections you make now will last a lifetime, but you have to make them to be able to maintain them.

Courtney Gilder is a mass communication junior and business manager for The Wichitan.