As a full time student it is hard to stay connected to activities and clubs on campus–So little time! There were definitely several worries in my mind before I decided to join and actively participate in a graduate organization. I could already identity a few things that were creating roadblocks in my mind before joining.
The top five:
1. Worrying about my grades- would club activities leave less time for me to study and do homework? Would I have to start doing my assignments extra early to meet the demand?
2. Wondering how to balance my part-time job with the organization.
3. Not getting home early to take my dog to the park or spend time with family (Yes, it crossed my mind!)
4. Fighting traffic and student parking to make meetings.
5. Not being able to live up to expectations/demands of the organization.
Then, I thought about the ways I could manage my time and not sacrifice my organization participation, grades, or schools. The first thing I did was attend one of the meetings to learn more before I made my decision. I came to appreciate the meeting as I got interested in the topics and events, and realized that with a few small steps I could make it work. Most meetings were during lunch or between breaks just once a month, which I could very easily attend. Normally I would just sit outside to eat, so it didn’t cut too much into my day. Also, since I was already on campus, traffic and parking wasn’t an issue anymore. I also learned that events are planned in advance, so if I prioritized my calendar, balance of school and participation in fun events would be possible. The fear of expectations of participation of the organization also started dissipating as I learned that all of the students had different schedules and that many events were broken down so that planning could be done in teams and sometimes away from campus. In addition, with all of the different ways to communicate (Facebook, email, etc) it became very easy to stay connected and up to date.
With this new perspective, I realized that any opportunity to contribute our voices and to learn about the planning of organizational GCSW events, among other things, outweighed the doubts I had in my mind before. I really enjoy being a part of a team of students that connects with new people and faculty to promote the unity and diversity of our student body, and below are the top 5 ways I feel joining has benefitted me:
1. Networking: Connecting with students from other cohorts and meeting faculty.
2. Increased confidence and practice in leadership and organization management skills.
3. Social: Having fun as a team and also utilizing different member backgrounds to learn about potential classes and career opportunities.
4. Volunteer opportunities.
5. Exposure to different issues that affect our student body experience and personal growth in planning as a team to address these issues.