Take advantage of all you’re offered

Hannah Schindler

A few weeks ago I was selected to attend the Associated College Press and College Media Association’s semi-annual student media conference. When I thought about applying, I [media-credit name=”Kristen Riello” align=”alignleft” width=”178″]Opinion Headline[/media-credit]initially thought, “This is dumb. I’m not even a journalist. Why should I go to a conference on journalism?” But after talking to other non-journalism students about it and doing some research on the sessions the conference would have, I realized I had nothing to lose by applying.

Once I got accepted, I was worried about silly things, like the hassle of taking a long bus ride to Philadelphia because I hate traveling. But the bus ride went by a lot faster than I thought and in no time we were there soaking it all in.

There were many people from many schools with totally different experiences and backgrounds. I remember sitting at one of the sessions and thinking, “Wow all these people came from all over the country to learn about something we are all so passionate about.”

It was actually really interesting when people were talking about their own experiences about working on a college newspaper. I realized people all over the country have similar issues we face here. This whole experience taught me so much not only about design techniques, but also about problem solving and working as a team. Plus, I became closer with some people who I hadn’t had the opportunity to get to know as well beforehand. I never expected I would learn and enjoy it as much as I did.

This reminded me of why I am so glad I got involved with The Chronicle. People always complain that joining organizations are a waste of time and require too much work, especially since you don’t get paid. Although there isn’t monetary compensation to join an organization on campus, the opportunities it provides are things that you can’t pay for.

Joining an organization not only allows you to grow in the field that you are studying, but it gives you the opportunity to go to events and conferences that can help you and the organization you are a part of.

But always remember you get out what you put in. You can’t just join an organization to say that you are involved on campus. If you want to get the most out of campus involvement you need to do more than show up to meetings and eat the free food. Offer to help out with ideas for a future meeting or help to plan an event that the organization is putting on. By showing you are interested, other members will see that and give you more responsibility in the organization.

Only then will you have the opportunity to travel to interesting conferences and learn more about what you’re passionate about.