Throughout my college career, the “college experience” has been an elusive dream. Don’t get me wrong because I do enjoy the comforts of my home, since sharing a bathroom with strangers would get old really quick for me.
Yet, as a commuter student on a residential campus, sometimes I feel like I’m missing out. At every involvement fair, feeling pumped seeing the different clubs and activities, only to realize I wouldn’t be able to stay until the club meeting times. I don’t have the luxury to stay on campus as much as I would like because getting home may be difficult, or I have responsibilities at home that tend to take up most of my time.
There are clubs that would speak to my interests, but I don’t feel I have the chance to explore them. However, fellow commuters, I will let you in on a secret.
You can become more involved in campus activities, too, but you may have to approach them in different ways. Here are my four steps to getting more involved on campus.
The first step is to make some time.
Every commuter is different. Some of us have jobs to get to after class. Others may live an incredible distance away from school. However, even someone on campus must make the time in their week and be willing to dedicate a portion of their time each week or each month to whatever activity they feel passionate about.
When scheduling classes and other activities, keep this in mind. Maybe you can work out a schedule in which you can spend an hour or two on this activity or participating in a club. Do you have only morning classes, and the club meets in the evening? Is there a way to attend meetings without too much inconvenience?
Weigh the importance of extracurriculars into your academic experience and make prudent decisions. There are times where you won’t be able to meet up with a club, and that’s okay. Let your adviser or club president know about it to see if team meeting times can be voted on, or if you can support the club in ways that fit your own schedule.
Secondly, get involved through your classes.
Is there a conference your teacher is going to that fits with your major? Is there an out-school competition that you can get involved in and rep West Chester? Ask around and you may be surprised.
The thrid step might be to create your own club.
What if there aren’t any clubs that don’t suit you? What if you want to create a whole new club? Wonder no more. Look into finding an adviser and apply to Student Affairs to create your own club.
Finally, explore virtual involvement.
We live in the age that your phone can make calls and PowerPoint presentations. You can promote events and organize them from the comfort of your home, depending on the club.
So for all you fellow commuters, these are just a few ways for us to get more involved in school activities, but they are not the only ways. Remember, don’t worry. Your college experience isn’t defined by how many clubs you join and can put on your resume, but the fun you had being a part of like-minded people.
So go out there and do your part, whatever that may be.
Elizabeth Christopher is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a concentration in graphic storytelling. She can be reached at EC840677@wcupa.edu.