At weekend’s end I found myself driving back from Reggae on the Rocks with two old friends, complaining how I had to return to school the following day.
“Yeah,” one of them snapped, “You should be happy. We have to go to work.”
Suddenly I felt like a schmuck for forsaking such a precious time. I, Joe Marshall, super-senior extraordinaire, get to enjoy six more months of sleeping late, working part time, and fraternizing with females who aren’t turned off by my lack of long-term goals.
The past half-decade has been, and may forever be, the best time of my life. What made it great, however, aren’t the opaque memories of wild drunkenness that consumed the first half of my collegiate career. What made college such an enriching experience were the extra-curricular activities that didn’t revolve around a keg or a 4-foot Graffix tube.
Involvement in an activity besides work and school makes college infinitely more enjoyable. Depending on individual taste, it could range from anything as mundane as reading trashy novels to attempting an overthrow of student government. The activity isn’t what is important; expanding your horizons beyond your narrow field of view is what is.
Perhaps the best stepping stone to extracurricular involvement is joining a Greek letter society, aka a fraternity or sorority. Many of these organizations are social clubs, but there are a number of academic and service oriented groups as well.
“Joining a fraternity has been the greatest experience of my life,” said Patrick Hutchinson, president of the CSU Inter-Fraternity Council.
Like many others, he credits his experience in Greek Life with teaching him life skills that would have been difficult to learn elsewhere.
Anti-Greek zealots believe fraternities and sororities are comprised of socially inept wannabes, meatheads and drama queens who must “buy” friends in order to have any at all. Not true. Fraternities and sororities include as many meatheads and drama queens as the general population, but people who are drawn to Greek life are generally social people. These individuals would have a relatively large circle of friends even if not in Greek Life.
Involvement in such an organization is simply an avenue for interaction with people one would not normally have contact with. Traditional Greek organizations aren’t for everybody, but that does not mean everyone won’t fit in somewhere. Finding something to do or somewhere to go besides school is quite simply a more healthy way to approach an academic career.
Besides fraternities and sororities, there are almost as many clubs, organizations and extra-curricular activities on campus as there are classes. The Student Organizations desk and the Student Leadership and Civic Engagement office are both located in the basement of the Lory Student Center, and both are open all day, Monday to Friday.
“You need a way to relieve stress,” said Tiffany Jones, a junior math major and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Jones also pointed out how staying busy helps people stay organized.
“If you have a lot to do, you’re more likely a scheduled person…if you (often) don’t have anything to do, you’re more likely to procrastinate,” Jones said.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people float through college, never experiencing anything more than class, a menial job, and the small group of friends they meet in the dorms. When pondering this, I wonder how these people could possibly be satisfied, let alone happy, not just with college but with life in general.
Don’t be one of these people. Nobody has to be a jellyfish drifting through the ocean of life; with minimal effort, everyone can harness an amazing amount of control over his or her own destiny. Frost took the road less traveled, but it doesn’t matter which road you choose as long as you decide to explore. It will make all the difference.
Joe is a super-duper-trooper of a senior. He was president of Sigma Chi during the 2002-2003 school year.