My Lyfestyle Through Lyrics
College. *sigh* If you only knew how fun college life is, you’d probably never send your kids to college. Okay… that is just a joke people. Laugh. But college really is fun and it’s a time in your child’s life where you should give them space to mature and grow.
My college experience is and was a lot of things, but the best thing to describe it would be: A ROLLER COASTER. I was a scholarship-athlete, involved with student organizations, volunteered when I could, planned campus events for students to attend… all while doing a full load of classes and practicing for my sport after classes… oh, and interning at two places to build my resume.
Why such a full plate? I’M POLYNESIAN! We work at our best when our plates are full (lol). Ok, but in all seriousness, I wanted to be involved with the school that was paying for my education. There wasn’t any other way I could think of in which to give back to the institution. What better way than to get involved, right? And that’s exactly what I did… got involved.
There are many ways students can and SHOULD get involved with their college institution when they’re in attendance. I enjoyed every second of every moment of my college experience. The good, the bad, the ugly; it’s all worth it in the end because there are an immense amount of memories for me to cherish.
Unfortunately, cliques from high schools carry on over into college. Yes, cliques exist in college too. Mainly with the students who have friends from high school attending the same college they’re attending. There are also student organizations that fuel that flame too (i.e. – Black Greek Lettered organizations, race specific student organizations and Athletes). There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. At a collegiate level, students are more civil and cordial with one another. We’re all on campus for one reason: an education. Majority of the student population wouldn’t risk doing anything to jeopardize their education. Being involved in collegiate institutional run extracurricular activities keeps you out of trouble and is an advantageous bonus for socializing and networking.
Where do you begin? Well, first things first, get out and par… AHEM… mingle! Yes, get out and mingle! The first week of school, colleges always have activities for students to attend so they can meet new people. From late night sports activities to dance parties, colleges always provide a safe environment for students to meet one another. I’ll share with you a few of the activities with which I was involved and attended the tenure of my college experience.
If there’s a party, go to it! I’m not talking about one of those after hours house parties in a small house where people have only one dance they can do: the sardine dance (so I’ve been to quite a few, so sue me lol). I’m talking about a party sponsored by the college. It’s coming out of your student fees, you may as well attend and support what you’re indirectly already paying for. So go forth and party. Attend a party with your hallmates and dormmates. You’ll have tons to reminisce about the next morning in the cafeteria over breakfast. Sometimes, a funny dance scene re-enactment is bound to take place. Trust me, I was always the one re-enacting a scene from a night at a party from the night before. My friends still remember my over-exaggerated skits and dance moves. lol
If there is anything that EVERY student should take advantage of when attending a college is this: join a student organization. There are long lists to choose from. Anywhere from religion, sports, academics, ethnicity, politics, community, etc. Each organization has a chapter at another college and each organization also has community ties. You meet people from all walks of life. For many students, these organizations become stepping stones for what it is they want to do career wise.
There is one part of these student organizations that I did want to touch on, that I think is very important for you to know about, ESPECIALLY my Polynesian readers: Greek Lettered Organizations (GLO). Why do I feel this is even relevant? Well, these organizations showed me love when I was far away from home. More specifically, the Black Greek Lettered Organizations (BGLO) always had my back wherever I went. Their sisterhood and brotherhood paralleled that of our “polyhood”. Show up unannounced, eat up all the food in the fridge, play pranks on each other that would go on throughout the school year, travel to chapters across the country on a whim and everyone knows everyone… Trust me, if you ever have the opportunity to join one, JOIN ONE. People were and still are amazed with how well I could and can keep up with who’s who and from where and what year. You Polys know what I’m talking about. We trained for that at a young age (thanks mom and dad lol). No, I will not discuss what people know as “hazing”. Just know, Polynesian parents are worse. (:
Involvement with any organization, even student organizations, will always provide opportunities for volunteerism. It was during my college years that I realized how important volunteering is for the local community. Whether it was reading at the local library for tots and toddlers or holding water for runners at a local marathon, there was and is always an event to support something, especially health awareness (i.e. – Breast Cancer, Mental Health, Diabetes, Dislexia, Ovarian Cancer, etc). Volunteerism can also open doors to an actual PAID job. Company owners are always in attendance. Someone is always watching, and someone always gets offered a job because of the work ethic they displayed at a volunteering gig.
Students looking to make a greater impact in more than one area of their
college institution and community; student government is where you want to look. It takes a passionate and determined student to deal with people in this field, but the impact these students have on the greater good of the campus and community rarely goes unnoticed. They represent the student population when they meet with important figures of the college (i.e. – Board of Trustees). Students involved with student government are usually majoring in Public Administration or Political Science. Eventually these students are on the path to running for office locally and then statewide and from there nationwide. We need more Polynesians in this field of study. I pray more become interested in it.
Students are always welcome to tryout for college teams. In my book, walk-ons that actually go through the tryouts and make the team should get a trophy. PERIOD. I have a few friends that went through the ringer to get to the point where they felt respected. Some quit because of the lack of respect displayed from some of the scholarship-athletes as well as the coaches. I mention this aspect of athletics because as a scholarship-athlete myself, there were times we took for granted what was handed to us. It wasn’t until I left that I realized how being a scholarship-athlete was a blessing. Room, board, books, fees, uniforms, special work out facilities, tutors, counseling, etc., all there for us. The regular students had to find their own way to survive life on a college campus.
Clearly, as a Polynesian, I know all too well that this is usually our gateway into academia. I’m not complaining, I just wish our parents would place more emphasis on academics, student organizations and volunteerism than jist sports. Athletics isn’t the only option and/or outlet we have (let me
step out my soap box before this blog ends up being longer).
Being involved in activities on a college campus affords you the opportunity to learn a lot about yourself as well as others. Taking part in any of these activities, even if just one, helps you hone more than just your social
skills, but leadership skills, work ethic, networking, etc. It helps you build your network for life after college. And if you’re a scholarship-athlete, make the time to becoming more involved with your community if your Athletic Department isn’t already requiring you to do so. These communities and the residents living in them keep the town running and are there after you’ve graduated and moved on. They’re die hard fans and donors. Give back to them because they’re the tailgating, crazy, stand in line for hours in the rain with whiny kids just to catch a glimpse or get an autograph from any athlete, kind of fans and nine times out of ten they’re the donors that pay for all the activities to even exist!
Are you placing too much emphasis on your child’s athleticism, rather than letting them know there are other means to get into college? If you’re in college now, other than simply being enrolled in classes, in what ways are you involved with your college institution and the community in which it is in?
Until next time,