By Beverly Asante, Toppel Peer Advisor

This last weekend, I got the opportunity to go to Jamaica to compete in the Pan American Universities Debating Championship. Essentially, I spent five days in a beautiful Island debating.  How you ask? I got involved. I took advantage of the opportunities provided by this amazing University. I joined an organization where I felt I belonged, filled with individuals who share the same passion I do. Joining a club or a student organization is one of the best things you can do while you’re in college. Below is a few reasons why.

It looks good on your resume

Of course employers look at your grades. They matter. Of course they look at where you got your undergraduate degree, that also matters. However, a lot of students forget that employers come across countless numbers of job applicants of students who went to these amazing colleges and got these amazing grades. The point is, they see so many qualified applicants that good grades and a good college isn’t enough to get hired. It’s not even the bare minimum. What sets your application apart is your activities section. This is the section where you can include any volunteer work as well as any clubs or organizations you are involved in. Having this on your resume shows employers that you can multitask. Not only can you handle a rigorous course load but you’re also a leader outside of the classroom. Anyone can say they got good grades, but not everyone can say that they got good grades while being an intercollegiate debater, or the head of the economics club. These are the type of things that personalizes your application and gives employers a better understanding of who you are and what you like.

It becomes your second family

Everyone who knows me knows that I love to sing.  One of the biggest things I wanted to do when I first arrived on campus was join a singing group. I did and it was one of the best decisions I made. I did much more than sing. I grew a bond with these people. I was a lost freshman in August and I didn’t have many friends. The thing about clubs is that they force you to make relationships. They force you to meet new people and experience different things. What you do with those people is at your discretion. In my case, these student organization served as a great networking tool. Thus opening the door for friendships I can see myself having even after I graduate. I was surrounded by individuals who made me want to sing better, who made me think critically. Individuals who motivated me to be better. Joining a club made being in a different state away from my family bearable. It fostered a sense of community that I definitely needed at this fragile time in my life. I grew to love my fellow choristers, we connected with our voices and my heart soared knowing that there were people just like me who shared my love. Music.

If you take anything away from this post, please let it be that joining a club is a wise decision. It can be the start of friendships, it can be a great networking tool, it can even be the reason you get hired. Who knows, maybe you might share a few extracurricular activities in common with your employer.  Or the president of one your clubs might know someone who is hiring in your desired field. The point is, you will never know what opportunities lie ahead unless you actually get out and get involved.