Three Steps to Becoming a Campus-Town Contributor

In high school, counselors, teachers and parents alike would reiterate how important it is to become involved within the neighborhood and surrounding community. Students are usually encouraged to join neighborhood leagues, get involved with the park district or take advantage of volunteer opportunities around town. Not only did these activities keep you busy, but let’s be honest, they looked pretty fantastic on an application when it came time to apply for college. Eagle Scout Leader? Check. Club Volleyball team captain? Check. Employee at local cafe? Check. You’re all set.

Then comes college. You’re stepping onto campus as an incoming freshman with a completely blank slate. No one knows who you are or what you’ve done back home. You’re a new addition to the student body on campus, but what’s more, you’re becoming a new member of the larger community that surrounds your school. While it’s a great idea to get involved around campus your first year away from home, becoming involved within the community outside of school can help you to become even better acquainted and comfortable with your new home.

1.    Look for Community Internships that Align with your Interests

A great way to become involved in the community outside of campus is to begin looking for various internship opportunities that the local community offers. If you’re studying to be a nurse, ask a nearby hospital if there are any available internships or days when you can shadow a doctor or nurse. If you are studying broadcast journalism and want to know more about anchoring, travel to the local television station to see what an average day is like in the newsroom. You can learn a lot from a classroom, but you will learn even more by witnessing real-life scenarios.

2.    Get a Part-Time Job

Holding a job teaches time management and self-discipline. And sure, there are plenty of job opportunities that let you serve your friends and classmates, but there are even more job opportunities beyond campus borders. By holding a job in the community, you will get to know the locals in the surrounding neighborhoods while being able to take a break from the chaos of campus-life (the extra cash doesn’t hurt, either).

3.    Volunteer in the Community

Volunteerism looked great on your college application, and it will still look great on a resume. Search for volunteer opportunities around the community, and get your friends involved as well. Not only is community service an extremely rewarding activity, it will show that you are in touch with real-world situations outside of the “college bubble,” and are willing to take the time and help out.

Even if you do not have time to make a heavy time commitment for activities outside of your campus, please don’t hesitate to take advantage of all that the surrounding community has to offer.  Visit the local performing arts and community centers, explore neighborhoods and local businesses, and get to know the area. That way, not only do you become a valued member on campus, but a valued member of a much larger community.

 

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Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in News-Editorial Journalism with an interdisciplinary minor in Leadership Studies. Emma enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and snuggling up on the couch with her cat, “Louie.” She also spends her time volunteering and hanging out with family and friends.
Emma Weissmann

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