Organizations improve student life

Julie Blackford-Director of Student Activities

Julie Blackford-Director of Student Activities

Julie Blackford

One of the most common phrases I hear from students is “there’s nothing to do in Joplin.” True, while Joplin is not a sprawling metropolis, there are plenty of things to do at Missouri Southern, but it is up to you to get involved. You work hard so you can attend Southern, so why let all the “perks” pass you by? Try going to a play or a football game. Get involved with intramural volleyball or basketball. Go to one of the many cultural events offered throughout the semester. Go to a Campus Activities Board movie night or Finals Madness. Better yet, don’t just go to an event; get involved in the planning of these events such as joining CAB or one of the other 80 student organizations.

Obviously, an important component of college is academics. However, there are other components that are just as important, such as leading an active and satisfying social life, discovering your leadership potential and growing as an individual. While graduating summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude is great (plus you get that small, shiny, rectangle sticker on your diploma), it is not what is going to land you a job once you get out into “the real world.” Hundreds of students graduate with these honors, and while it shows that you are committed to hitting the books, it isn’t going to set you apart from the other 25 applicants applying for the job you want. So, what is going to set you apart from the other applicants? Leadership, organizational skills and people skills.

Employers, especially in the service sector, want applicants who are friendly, outgoing, self-motivated and have the ability to multitask. How are you going to get your foot in the door to even get an interview? Your resume. This is where being involved in things other than academics can get your places. Let’s say all 25 applicants have a comparable degree as you. What is going to set you apart from them? What is going to make that employer say, “I want to find out more about this applicant.” Getting involved in extra curricular activities is a way to demonstrate that you have the skills they are looking for.

No matter what your interest, there is something for you at Southern. Interested in drama or performing? Try the College Players, chamber choir or band. Is math and science your thing? Try the Math Club, Delta Epsilon Chi, the Accounting Club, the Environmental Science Club, Chemistry Club or the Pre-Professional Club. What if helping people is your passion? Then you might enjoy Southern’s Student Coalition Against Child Abuse, B-GLAD, the Sociology Club, Psychology Club or one of the several religious organizations that do mission trips around the world. Are you the type to watch CNN 24/7 and the Fox News channel? Then join the College Democrats, College Republicans, SPEAK or the debate team. Is it ESPN day and night? Get involved in organizing an intramural team, or join Gang Green. Are you a “social butterfly?” Then going Greek is the way to go. If you are interested in something that does not pertain to any of our existing clubs, that’s OK, just let us know, and we will do what we can to help you out. Bottom line – it doesn’t matter what you get involved in, just get involved in something. To find out about student organizations next fall, be sure to attend the student organization fair scheduled for Aug. 27, or call the student activities office at 625-9346. See you next fall.