Hentzel: Just do it: Get involved on campus

Caytlin Hentzel

Iowa State prides itself in being a diverse school that celebrates every interest a student might have. ClubFest, an event that occurs once a semester, is enough evidence on how much the school encourages involvement. School is not just about getting a diploma, it is about making friends and getting the best experience possible.

Jason Stollham, author of several articles at collegematchingservice.com, wrote an article stressing the importance of being involved, saying how being involved “will allow you to get exposed to diverse culture and opportunities which may prove beneficial to your future.” Clubs on campus create a sense of community, ward off homesickness and help students discover their passions.

Currently we have record numbers of students in the freshman class, as well as in terms of overall enrollment at Iowa State. These include even more people who are unsure about what is the right way to approach the whole college experience. We were all there once, just going to and from class, not taking risks in case our grades might suffer. We didn’t get involved as much, just stayed in our dorms and played Xbox, microwaved Hot Pockets and laughed about the same YouTube videos for the millionth time.

Club involvement helps you feel like you fit in. It is not just you who is wandering to and from class, walking the same route and eating the same food. Involvement gives you something to look forward to in your schedule. Get out of that small, standard-size room and pursue an interest. Take glassblowing or juggling, learn how to play cricket, build a robot, play hockey or sand volleyball, even make origami balloons.

If there is not a group currently established on campus that interests you, start your own group. It will help you make new friends, as well as identify and explore what your interests are.

People complain about time commitment all the time. It is a big reason why they hesitate to sign up for the email lists for some groups. The truth is that you decide how much time you can and will commit and how many groups you want to be involved in.

I am involved in just one club on campus. Yet a large chunk of time is spent helping out and having fun with an exceptional group of individuals. I realize that I cannot do more than one club at this time. I would like to think that I could join the break-dancing club next semester — maybe learn some throw-down dance moves, like the windmill, spin kick. A girl can dream.

It has been some time since ClubFest occurred. If you never signed up on an email sheet, tag along with a friend to their basket-weaving workshop, Ski and Snowboarding Club meeting or even the Canoe & Kayak Club. Chances are that somewhere in the far corners of the campus you will find what you are looking for. Once you find it, hold onto it. Passion is something we all have in our lives. Granted, our passions may vary. It could be focused on sleep, writing a paper, Frisbee, fantasy football or reading a new mystery novel that came out.

Whatever it is, be sure to be involved in college so that when you walk across that stage, you don’t just reach out for a means to an end in the form of a paper and a handshake, but you reach out recognizing the happy memories and laughs that come along with the years put into getting that diploma.