Editor’s Note: Veronica Wernicke is a freshman at UNCW majoring in Communication Studies and is the Assistant Opinion Editor for The Seahawk. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Veronica Wernicke may be found on Twitter @itsveronica98. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to [email protected]
“I went to college and all I got was an education.” It sounds like a joke to tell your friends and family. When you think of going to college, the sole benefit you have in mind is getting an education, obviously. That education thus turns into a job right out of graduation –hopefully.
However, nowadays college students are getting so much more than an education out of their college experience. My dad would probably say “I hope they are for the price we pay.”
Just by joining a club or student organization on campus you can make new friends, connections and even network later on. The possibilities are endless when it comes to joining an on-campus student organization. The most popular choice is joining a sorority or fraternity — cue the networking.
When you join either a sorority or fraternity you are thrown into a world of many new people and philanthropic work among other things. Usually a sorority or a fraternity has a charitable philanthropy which they raise money for throughout the school year. By working with philanthropies and raising money for them you are gaining skills in leadership, teamwork, volunteering and communication; the list goes on.
Both sororities and fraternities are generally large in member numbers which means someone knows someone who knows someone at your dream job. Think “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” connections. Now add in the sororities and fraternities on campus that have chapters all over the country. That is a lot of people to be able to make connections with and network down the line.
Along with sororities and fraternities, there are more student-led groups on campus that will help foster other important life skills. Think of clubs that are more career centered like the finance club. Clubs like that help craft interest in that field of business and give students hands-on experience along with more networking opportunities.
Non-specifically to any organization, in clubs you can also make your way from just being a member to serving on the executive board or other leadership opportunities that you might not get elsewhere. This is also a great resume builder and shows drive and initiative.
Outside of clubs, another benefit of college is the start of your independence. In college it is your responsibility to go to classes, study, get yourself to and from places, go grocery shopping and pay bills if you are renting an apartment among other things. You can no longer rely on your parents to do all of the heavy liftings of your life. College is a nice happy medium of independence because it is a Segway between no independence and complete independence post-graduation. You slowly get to learn things like time management, buying your own groceries and paying bills or rent.
You also get to really find yourself in college. It could be through joining a club, taking a random class that sounded interesting, declaring a major or studying abroad. There are endless possibilities of how you can truly find yourself. Which is what college is for, aside from taking classes and earning a degree.
Studies have also shown that those who attend college are more likely to live longer than those who do not attend college. The study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics found that people with a bachelor degree or higher can live around nine years longer than their counterparts. So, here’s to a bonus nine years of life. Along with living longer, the study also found that college graduates are healthier and happier with their lives.
Going to college is now no longer just about earning a degree to get a job. While that is still super important, going to college has so many more benefits that will only improve and help you later on in your life and the job market.