Find your community, build your resume


LUKE HOLLISTER | The Daily Evergreen

How do you make the most of you college experience? Don’t be that person who is too cool to be involved.

MARIAH INMAN, Evergreen columnist

A new place full of unfamiliar faces is scary, but the best way to find yourself a home is to build one yourself.

Last year as a freshman, I remember feeling overwhelmed by all the strange people I met during Week of Welcome. I have never met so many people who wanted to give me a different opportunity.

As I walked from table to table and face to face, I took their flyers out of courtesy as they asked me if I would like to sign up for whatever they were endorsing.

But when I went back to my dorm room, lying the flyers out on my bed I realized I did in fact want to meet for Tennis Club twice a week, and that I did want to work for The Daily Evergreen.

As a freshman, you realize that independence is a terrifyingly brilliant roller coaster. First of all, you can’t say yes to every flyer you receive from Week of Welcome. But that doesn’t mean you should say no to it all either.

Megan Starr-Gepford, an academic coordinator for the Murrow College of Communication, gives her take on fitting into the new university life both academically and socially.

“I believe that students should prepare to not just walk out of Washington State University with a diploma but also a resume that’s going to support that,” she said. “It helps to differentiate students to employers, they can kind of see the niche in terms of their activities while they were earning their degree.”

Even though you may not know anyone during your first week, or you’ve never played a sport before, it’s okay. Do what makes you happy and find a community that fits your identity.

“I think it’s also a great time to start exploring some of those clubs and activities that they might be interested in,” Starr-Gepford said. “In my own experience, I’m an introvert and pretty shy, but it’s hard to get outside of my comfort zone, so Week of Welcome is a nice structured way to do that.”

Getting involved with activities may also help you decide on your major. For me, I joined The Daily Evergreen to understand the journalism field a bit better, only to realize the multimedia journalism major was more than just pen and paper. It deepened my passion for my major, as well as connecting me to fellow journalism students.

“The benefit of joining a club that either meshes your professional or social inspiration is that you’re starting to connect or grow a network of like-minded people, so you have a support group,” Starr-Gepford said.

Starr-Gepford stresses that the community people become involved with during freshmen year help them find their place on campus. In my own experience, my communities left me feeling encouraged and loved while dealing with schoolwork.

“There are hundreds of different ways to get involved, whether it’s an organized club through Washington State or just doing things with your peers around the town or the university,” Starr-Gepford said. “There is no reason anybody should feel left out.”

So, I challenge you, freshmen, to get involved and choose a community that will treat you well and engage you in your strongest interests.