Campus involvement and student success

By Michael Boswell

SALT LAKE CITY— College can be a very exciting but stressful time in our lives. Senior’s in high school develop presumptions of how hard college will be. Upon arriving, and after orientation, they find out that it isn’t that bad, that they will survive. Coming from out of state, a new school, town, and area can be quite intimidating. Some of your friends will join fraternities, sororities, and clubs while they are in college, and you, well you may do nothing. Your friends are out at their events and you are sitting in your dorm room, or your house thinking about how can you make college better, you wonder how being apart of something on campus can impact your college experience.

There are many ways to get involved on campus. Whether it be joining a fraternity, sorority, or any club, there are many ways to enjoy these experiences. Though this poses the question of what are the pros and cons of being involved on campus at the U of U. Does it really better your experience or does it add to the difficulty?

Dylan James pictured middle with fraternity brothers. (August 2018) At a Greek Week event. (Unewswriting photo/ Michael Boswell)

“There are pros and cons to everything you do.” Said Dylan James a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. “I chose to rush to better my experience. Not being from Utah, I didn’t have a lot of friends at the U. I thought it would be a great opportunity to make new friends and meet more people. Being apart of Sigma Chi makes you be accountable, you have to maintain good grades and they push you to better yourself. We also give back to the community, by holding fundraisers for Huntsman Cancer Institute. This year we were the first Sigma Chi fraternity to raise over $100,000 for the Cancer Institute. I was very skeptical to rush a fraternity, because of the movies and how they make them seem, but it has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made.”

Research has shown that joining a extracurricular organizations are beneficial to college students. They help bring students and faculty together, let students interact in a non-formal atmosphere, and allow students to strengthen their leadership and communications skills. According to a study conducted by Birkenholz “Communications skills of College of Agriculture students are enhanced through participation in student organizations and activities.” What if none of that sounds interesting to you. Maybe you aren’t a social butterfly and you enjoy your alone time. What would happen if you chose not to join a club or Greek Row. It wouldn’t be the end of the world but how could it affect or add to your college experience.

From left to right: Amanda Brandao, Cam Daley
Cam Daley enjoying a football game with his girlfriend. September, 2019. (U News Writing, Michael Boswell)

“At first it was different from high school.” Said Cam Daley, a student at the University of Utah. “Since I’ve played sports my whole life and being apart of a team it was a hard transition. But since I’m not playing baseball or football anymore it makes me focus more on academics, and not the social aspect of it. Part of me would want to do it over but I am happy at where I am. My first two years I would join something but my last two I wouldn’t.” Cam also went on to talk about how his first two years he felt out of place at the U. However now he feels that his priorities are in line with school, and he feels he belongs.

In a John Hopkins University Press article it stated that, “Females and full-time students who spent more time preparing for class or otherwise engaging in academic tasks earned a higher GPA and reported higher satisfaction with their overall academic experience.” And a recent study from Ohio State University suggests that “students who work 20 hours a week or more are less likely to be involved in a student organization. Compared to students who work less than 20 hour a week, or students who do not work.”  Students who belonged to an organization felt more connected to the university, more confident, and learned problem solving skills, the article said.

Back row left to right (Players) : Darian Power, Kelsin Pupunu, Brad Jackson, Alex Egan, Nate Nelson, Will Frantz. Front row left to right: Tim Nelson, Jason Frantz, Ezequil Garcia, Nate Asper, Michael Boswell, Teddy Arlington, Rocky Mars. University Utah Rugby takes third in Las Vegas tournament in February, 2019 (U News Writing, Michael Boswell)

It can be very hard to let go of who you used to be in high school. The person you were back then will be different than who you are today.  Some students carry on some aspects whether it be sports, or friends. Nate Nelson is apart of the University of Utah Rugby team but he also works three jobs, and is a fulltime student. “It can be hard to find a balance” said Nate Nelson. “I know this won’t last forever, so that’s why I do it now. The bonds I have created through rugby and what it has taught me will last a lifetime.”

It can be hard to determine what you want out of college, whether you want the social aspect or the academics. Your priorities can and will change throughout your college journey, but to narrow down on what is important to you will help make this journey a lot easier.  College is a great experience and should be used for its full potential. There is no right or wrong on wanting to join a club or not. The worst thing you can do, is look back on your college experience and have regrets.