By Jamie Moore
In addition to Texas State’s wide range of curriculum and majors, there are 350+ registered student organizations on campus that students can participate in to heighten their undergraduate experience. Getting involved on campus has many benefits, especially on an inclusive, diverse campus like Texas State.
Experienced alums and faculty are pleading with students to get involved, not just encouraging them.
In 2010, Purdue University studied the relationship between undergraduate student activity and academic performance and reported that participation in student organizations leads to more social and leadership skills, heightened self-confidence, and further success after college.
“Do all that you can before you leave,” said Madison Green, senior advertising and psychology major and The University Star opinion writer. “You never regret the things you did, you regret the things you didn’t do.”
Green got involved with extracurriculars during the years that the university was shut down for the pandemic, stating that she didn’t have a solid support system, so she started searching for students who were just like her. She is not the only student who has used extracurriculars to find friends with similar interests.
“I feel like the campus has gotten a lot smaller because I see familiar faces and, and more friendly with people,” said junior exercise sports science major Madison Klovenski, current vice-president of PTO (Pre-Occupational Therapy Organization). “And I don’t know, I just feel more part of Texas State.”
Many clubs on campus have a built-in feature of their organization where they prepare students for graduate school. PTO, the organization Klovenski is in, states on its website that its purpose is “to provide information to students who are interested in Physical Therapy graduate school,” along with helping students find opportunities to familiarize themselves with the PT field.
“We go on a lot of field trips,” Klovenski said. “We also went to San Antonio, we went to a couple rehab facilities. It was just really nice to kind of get out of Texas State and with my org to kind of see what we can do.”
Students have also used extracurriculars to start their careers early, and they have the right idea. According to studies by the Office of Student Life of Ohio State University, highly-involved students were three times more likely to be considered for jobs by employers than uninvolved students after undergrad.
“With the psych association, I meet more people in the psychology department, which can help me with, like, meeting professors to help me with grad school stuff,” said senior psychology major Ainsley Tyler, who also serves as the treasurer for the Psychology Association.
The same study has also shown that students are 2.1 times more likely to be satisfied with their overall experience at the college they’re attending, as a combination of being academically satisfied and having meaningful connections on campus.
“Just that, like, I’m an outgoing human, I guess, but I need an extra push in order for me to make friends,” said sophomore pre-nursing major Ria Marsh, who also serves as the secretary and academic chair of Omega Phi Alpha. “So joining these organizations have really pushed me into making new friends and everything.”
Some organizations, like Omega Phi Alpha, which Marsh is a part of, heavily focus on community service and improving the campus. Omega Phi Alpha’s three main principles include service, leadership, and sisterhood.
“I did a lot of community service in high school,” Marsh said. “I had over 1400 hours by the time I graduated. It’s been like a really big part of my life. So, I wanted to continue that while being in college.”
Studies in the Brandon University Journal of Graduate Studies in Education have strongly shown that adolescents who participate in extracurricular activities also demonstrate higher levels of character development, including time management skills, leadership skills, learning to accept constructive criticism, self-confidence, and resilience.
“I don’t think I’d be where I am without taking on leadership roles,” Green said. “I feel like getting involved on campus is like the first step to getting involved like in your career field. And it opens a lot of doors for new opportunities.”
Emma Oakley, junior advertising major and Sirens Chairwoman of Promotional Marketing, said that through her organization, she learned to work with different personalities and handle conflict with each other in a professional way. Sirens is a sisterhood organization that focuses on women empowerment by other women, stating on their website that they “help women express their voice.”
Oakley only had one thing to say when asked if she had advice for any students considering getting involved in extracurriculars.
“Do it,” Oakley said.