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Involvement provides improved experiences for on-campus students


September 20, 2012

College is a learning experience for everyone, but there are things I wish I would have known when I was a freshman. I have learned some basic lessons in college. Going to class is essential for good grades, even if the class starts at 8 a.m. Dominos and Ramen are not major food groups, even though they taste really good.

Also, if someone walks into a residence hall bathroom while someone is singing really loud in the shower, it is awkward for both parties. Other really important basics for success in college weren’t obvious to me.

While it was easy to relax on my futon and watch YouTube videos for hours, I realized that the benefits of getting involved on campus would be worth the sacrifice. Before I became involved with Hall Council and Residence Hall Association, I did not feel connected to campus.

After I started to get involved during my sophomore year, I was able to build great relationships with my fellow Falcons and add leadership experience to my resume. There are hundreds of things to become involved with on campus, including the arts, athletics, leadership, academics and personal interest. No matter what the organization or club is, it is important to get involved!

Another easy way to get connected with campus is by stepping outside of your comfort zone (or sometimes venturing out of your dorm room) and meeting new people! I was surprised at how even the small gestures I made, like smiling and greeting someone I didn’t know in my residence hall, marked the beginning of many of my close friendships on campus. I met a lot of interesting and unique people, who changed my perspective on life and opened my mind.

After meeting new people on campus, it is important to balance new relationships with friends and family back home. It is a good idea to visit home sometimes and keep in touch with high school friends.

However, by going home every weekend or stalking the newsfeed on Facebook every waking moment, you could miss out on a lot of great opportunities and fun on campus. There are several events on campus during the week and on weekends, like bingo, concerts and sporting events.

Since going off to college is a big change, there were hard times for me, like there are for many new students. However, I soon realized that I wasn’t alone in my transition; I simply needed to take advantage of my resources.

It is never too early for students to discover the free resources on campus, like Student Health and Counseling Services, Career Services and Recreation and Sports Facilities. You can get connected to resources like these through the school website or OrgSync.

From the first day of classes to graduation day, each one of us must create our own college experience. These experiences will be filled with good and bad decisions, difficult and rewarding experiences. Through the positive and negative, it is important for students to learn from these experiences and make the most their lives at UWRF!

Nicole Hovatter is a student at UW-River Falls.