Students should tailor involvement toward interests

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A professor I respect has a saying that seems to come up every time we speak: “Don’t let your education get in the way of your education.” The point is that extracurricular activities can be just as important as “ivory tower” classroom work. This “you only live once” attitude seems to fit well in the collegiate atmosphere. 

Truth be told, I would be lying if I said I have never skipped class to do work for an extracurricular activity. However, I still learned a lot from doing those things … in some instances, probably more than I would have if I attended the class I skipped. The whole point of a collegiate education is to become a more well-rounded, knowledgeable person who can contribute to society as a result of knowledge gained. Much of that takes place outside of the classroom.

The best way to get involved is to follow your passion. Last fall, a friend of mine started a grassroots food drive simply because she saw a need to do so. My sophomore year, a student saw the need to throw a rave in Hale Library to relieve stress. 

I’ve also seen campus groups do some remarkable things; this year K-State Proud raised more than $110,000 for their fellow students, Rolling Stone named one of my colleagues at the Collegian the 2010 student journalist of the year, KSDB-FM 91.9 took home more Kansas Association of Broadcasters awards than any other school in the state this year and we have a nationally successful debate team. All of these are examples of passionate people making the most of their time here. Surround yourself with others who are just as passionate and let the creativity flow.

I see so many passionate people when I walk across campus holding fundraisers, working with each other to gain professional experience and trying to better themselves. I personally have had some wonderful opportunities with the Collegian and as a class leader for Introduction to Leadership Concepts. Although they have also caused me stress and frustration at times, those opportunities have made me a stronger person and helped me make new friends that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Needless to say, up until this semester I’ve rarely had a dull moment. Looking back I kind of miss being so busy I could barely think. Getting involved helped me exit my comfort zone, learn more about others and challenge myself to rise to the level of my colleagues and help build others up as well.

The great thing about K-State is if there isn’t a club or organization devoted to your cause, issue or interest, it is not that hard to start one; it simply takes four other similarly-interested students and a full-time member of the faculty, staff or administration to serve as the group’s adviser. With more than 450 clubs and organizations on campus, there really is something for everybody here.

Keeping all this in mind, being involved doesn’t have to mean you belong to a cause, club or organization, it just means you don’t spend all your time cooped up studying. If belonging to a club is not your style, participate in campus life, attend K-State sponsored events, donate your time to helping others, stay informed on campus issues or ask questions regularly to people at booths on campus. There really isn’t one specific way to get involved, but if you feel like you have more things to do than hours of the day, odds are you’re probably doing it right.

Tim Schrag is a senior in journalism and digital media. Please send comments to edge@kstatecollegian.com.

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