Student Organizations: The Experience

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One of Laura’s student organizations, the Latin American Student Association

by LAURA SANCHEZ, Opinions Editor 

I’m going to start this article by saying that I’m about to speak very highly about student organizations, and say cheesy, cliché things about my time here on campus. No one is paying me to say this, and trust me – ask anyone else in a student organization that they highly care about – and they will probably say the same things.

I feel like student organizations here at The University of Michigan-Dearborn are so different from other organizations at other college campuses. Since we have a large number of commuters on campus, student organizations are sort of the ‘home within the college campus’ that most of us don’t really have. Student organizations are where students meet others and make these intricate connections with each other that cannot really be made anywhere else. Lots of students usually leave campus after classes; they leave to their jobs, to their families, to their kids, to their homework. So many of us have other busy lives that aren’t part of our school experiences, and some don’t even have the time or energy to participate on so many other on-campus experiences.

But to some of us, being part of student organizations is just another part of our busy lives. I know I’m privileged, and that I am part of student organizations because I have the time.I have a part-time job, I try to manage my homework well, and don’t have a family that relies on me to pay the bills or take care of my family members. I know I’m lucky, so that’s one of the reasons that I invest so much time into on-campus activities.

I used to be ultra-involved in high school, and of course, this has also translated into my college experience. However, I didn’t think it would be this way when I was a freshman. During my first year at UM-Dearborn, I was the type of student to go home straight after classes. I wouldn’t typically engage in on-campus activities or organizations or clubs. To be honest, in hindsight, it was a dull freshman year. It could have been better. I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t participate too much; I felt like I went through too many transitions over that year, and it was too overwhelming for me to get used to everything at once.

But I came in with a determined force the following year and started to really get involved on campus – I got an on-campus job, I started to go to campus events and meet more people, and I joined a couple of student organizations. That’s when I really started feeling part of the campus community and realizing how much potential I had within the resources UM-Dearborn gave me.  I mostly began to get involved in leadership positions within this last school year and really delved into the student organization process.

Aside from my praise towards the student organization process, it’s not always easy. There are forms to deal with, and events to manage, and dates to keep track of, and money to count. There are so many different things to deal with, and I can count a lot of headaches I’ve had to endure within the last year. But it’s worth it. It’s all worth it. It’s worth it when you see all of the student organization members bonding together after a successful event has been pulled off and discussing the event extensively. It’s worth it when people come up to you after an event on the UC stage and give the entire organization compliments about its execution. It’s worth it to realize how many students and faculty members we impact. But most of all, it’s worth it because we realize how we made this happen. Nothing could really happen without our drive and motivation to be part of our student organizations and heavily promote our mission and visions in such an extensive way.

I give tours on campus to prospective students, and I always give them a few tips of how to survive college. Among my tips involving caffeine and organization, I always tell them to get involved with student organizations. “Get involved!” I practically shout at them. So if there’s anything, anything that I tell them to get out of my tour, it’s to get involved on campus. So now I’m telling my readers the same thing: get involved. And if you’re involved already, just appreciate what you have, because it’s entirely unique and a fantastic experience you’ll never really forget.