Academic duties form the crux of university life. Still, they are by no means the only objective for student life. Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities can define an engaging college experience.
With nearly 150 student organizations and clubs on campus, Office of Student Life Director Tyler Guenette said there is something for everyone.
So when choosing the best fit, consider which ones will help most with realizing personal or professional goals. That way, students get the benefit of involvement without feeling stressed from taking on too much.
And as students change interests or move closer to graduation, Guenette also said it’s important to take time to evaluate what is most beneficial to your growth. “As you move forward, hone in on your interests and take on more leadership responsibilities, it's okay to step back from organizations that aren’t helping you meet your goals. Try not to overextend yourself because quality is more important than quantity.”
Here's what some UM-Dearborn Wolverines have learned through their campus club and student organization experiences.
Wasey Rehman, freshman
Wasey is involved in Student Government, Bio Club, Pakistani Student Association and Hyderabad Student Association, the latter two he co-founded.
“Growing up, I was a shy kid and normally kept to myself. I had a stuttering issue and my mom enrolled me in an enrichment program about public speaking and confidence. It helped me break my shell and led me to join public speaking clubs like Student Government.”
“Put yourself out there. Signing up for clubs is a lot easier than people think. Joining each organization builds confidence. It is vital to be a part of something more than classes to get a better idea of what you’re interested in doing in the future and to meet people. You may feel hesitant at first but once you’re in, you will always want to take on more. I chose UM-Dearborn over UM-Ann Arbor because Dearborn offered a better student experience package and that motive drove it home for me.”
Grace Obermiller, junior
Grace is the philanthropy officer for Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity, CRUISE facilitator, Alternative Spring Break volunteer and a mentor in the Wolverine Mentor Collective.
Growing personally and professionally:
“Putting yourself out there is a very scary thought. But if you only stick to what you’ve known throughout your life, you don’t allow any room for yourself to grow. Most opportunities presented to you may end up being once-in-a-lifetime moments. Not being open to new experiences may be of some comfort but also hinder your overall growth as a person. I am thankful for every single opportunity I’ve had. Each opportunity has taught me way more about life, including the career and professional aspects.
Stepping into a new group with a lot of unknowns is, in a way, a strange motivator and a potential life lesson. I wanted to take full advantage of my college life, and I feel I may have missed out on a lot if I had ever said no to the opportunities presented to me. I’m thankful for all my experiences that helped me get out of my comfort zone and become what I am today.”
Josue Rios, senior
Josue is a marketing intern at Experience+, an Engaged Scholar in the Engaged Scholars Program, a Student Representative for the Alumni Society Board, president for The Musician's Club and is on track for his (M)Talent designation in Talent Gateway.
Discovering your passion:
“You learn to prioritize tasks and responsibilities in a safe and encouraging environment, but your experience will vary depending on how much effort you are willing to put in. For instance, working with the Alternative Spring Break provides me experience with admin, external relations and macro and microplanning. Managing multiple responsibilities can be a challenge, but everyone has different capacities for different purposes. There may be a potential burnout or discouragement from campus engagements altogether, be it academic or otherwise. But ultimately, your passion will help you prevail.”
Finding your place on campus and preparing for life post-graduation:
“For me, it’s all about the passion, ideation, and potential network you can create through this. One can equate the motivation to fitting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together, and when you find the right combination, you start seeing the bigger picture.
As president of my passion project, Culture: The Musician’s Club, my aim is to showcase a more laid back, community-centered approach to student orgs with the motive to create an environment for students with similar tastes to get together and foster their own network. The same goes for my position as a student representative for the Alumni Society Board — I serve as a student's voice and get insights into university networks, functions and opportunities that the average student doesn’t see. And, as a marketing intern with Experience+, I get to be in a position that heavily aligns with my interest in marketing and prepares me for my career ahead.”