A common cliché about college is that these are the best years of your life.
It’s not all roses and lemonade. Oh, no. But universities offer students more opportunities than at any other time in their lives.
It’s hard to walk a hundred feet on campus without seeing a sign for a student organization. Every day, students volunteer and take part in service learning, internships and other activities.
Al Carroll, Student Government Association president, said that sometimes Butler University suffers from “over-programming” when multiple events conflict. But he thinks it’s less of a problem than a challenge to be met.
Every day it becomes more and more important that students get involved.
For many students finding a paying job is important, but as The Butler Collegian reported last week, campus jobs can be hard to come by.
But that doesn’t mean students can’t improve their chances at finding a job once they’ve graduated.
Employers aren’t just looking for degrees these days. They want students who are involved, who have developed practical skills and who have learned about themselves.
“Co-curricular activities help students develop transferable skills that employers are really looking for, like communication and team work,” said Caroline Huck-Watson, director of programs for leadership and service education
So, if you can’t find the job you want, if you can’t find a job that pays or accommodates your schedule, give your time away.
Butler has an array of services that students can take advantage of. There are service-learning jobs, internships and just good old-fashioned volunteering.
There are nearly 150 student organizations on campus. Butler has alternative break programs during both fall and spring.
There’s the Volunteer Center, Internship and Career Services Office, the Center for Faith and Vocation, the Office of Student Affairs and much, much more.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the vast number of amazing possibilities available.
Butler’s PulSE office on the south end of Atherton Union offers guidance to students wanting to get involved.
Julie Pakenham, associate director of PuLSE, said that interested students should come into the office, have a one-on-one conversation and get their feet wet. PuLSE is there to help make connections for students.
But it’s not just about padding your resume and piling up a laundry list of activities.
“Students often believe that more is more, and it’s not,” Pakenham said.
Concentrating on a particular area that students have a passion for can mean more in the long term than just adding another line to a resume.
PuLSE tries to work with students to discover their passions and to develop particular skills that they can take with them beyond the university.
That shouldn’t stop students from taking advantage of all the other services they pay for. And these services aren’t just window dressing, weekend warrior stuff.
Some opportunities have the potential to become careers or change lives.
Internships are another important way for students to gain experience for future employment, or for those interested in applying to graduate schools. And the office of Internship and Career Services can help.
Gary Beaulieu, director of career planning and development, suggested that students seeking internships should start early because they are very competitive.
Take it from me. Outside the university, with a full-time job, life becomes complicated fast. And time becomes a diminishing asset. Opportunities to get involved will never be as plentiful or as easily accessed as they are right now.
Now, put down this paper, and go get involved.