Published on 2013/07/15

The Necessity of Being Involved

The Necessity of Being Involved
For traditional-aged students, higher education has always been about more than the classroom. Given the benefits of participating in co-curricular activities, it’s time for non-traditional students to also take part.

Adults continuing their education need to be involved in campus activities and community services. Extracurricular activities provide skills not found in the classroom. Participation allows adult students to meet new people. It provides opportunities for them to learn new aspects about themselves. Furthermore, involvement is a resume builder.

Adults return to school for a variety of reasons. The majority of the adult students I encounter on campus are in higher education to advance in a career or obtain the skills and credentials to start a new one. Involvement on campus and in the community creates an advantage in the job market. Employers gain a sense of what type of person you are through your resume. Extracurricular involvement adds characteristics to a resume that sometimes cannot be seen in a credential.

The skills obtained in volunteering can be endless. Communication can always be improved and is vital in every aspect of life. Leadership is another valued skill that must be learned. Leadership changes as the world does. Everyone is a leader. There is always someone new to learn from the experience of others. Nonetheless, a leader must also know how to follow. Involvement on campus and in the community will intensify both leading and following.

Campus involvement allows for adults to mingle with the traditional students. The first two years of college, I went to class, answered questions asked by the professor and went home. There was no one with whom I could study or discuss new ideas. I felt I was the only one who knew my suffering. I would walk around campus and keep to myself. I began my third year at a new college with a new attitude. I was going to get involved and people would know who I was. At first, I was not sure how this would work. Being a decade older than my peers, I was sure I would be rejected as I was old enough to be some of the students’ parent. I thought the last thing they would want is another mom. However, I am a strong believer in mentoring younger people.

I quickly found I had the wrong attitude. Younger, more traditional students accepted me and valued my opinion. It taught me what leadership is about and that everyone must follow someone’s example. The age difference I had thought would hold me back opened more doors than I was prepared for. I now hold a seat on the Student Supreme Court. This seat is appointed by the student body president. In the fall, I will be secretary for Psi Sigma Alpha, the national honor society for political science students, a position I was elected to by my peers. I volunteer in my community for the Paris Lions Club. I have been appointed by the club president to be an executive officer and a district chair for one of the largest annual events we have.

All in all, involvement is very important to success. When you think you cannot do something, try it! You will surprise yourself. When you fail, try again a different way or just go with something new. The number of doors that will open will be endless.

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Readers Comments

Petra B 2013/07/15 at 7:33 am

I’m an adult student at a mid-sized college. Before talking to my academic advisor, it hadn’t even occurred to me that I could or should get involved in campus activities. I had always thought of these as activities for “the young ones” and thought they couldn’t possibly be interested in my input on, say, the student council.

However, my advisor helped me find some clubs and activities related to my interest and skills. She talked to me about how to approach the club leaders to get involved, what I might be asked to do, etc. She demystified the entire experience and got me excited about taking part! I’m happy to say that was two years ago, and I am now an executive member of our Model United Nations team, a peer tutor and a junior debater.

    Crystal Trotter 2013/07/20 at 1:12 pm


    Congratulations on your success! It is very exciting to know adult students are taking a step toward something new. People like us are exactly why I write these articles. I feel there are many resources adult learners do not know they have access too. I do believe it varies from each institution.


Aaron Wiggums 2013/07/15 at 4:31 pm

One challenge for many adult students is fitting co-curricular activities into what is already a packed schedule for them. It would be good for campus groups/clubs to take that into consideration when developing events or scheduling meetings (e.g. having meetings at night, or an option to call in instead of attending in person).

    Crystal Trotter 2013/07/20 at 1:08 pm

    You are correct in you comment. I offer you my suggestion. If there are things you would like to participate in make the suggestion. At Eastern, we use Skype at times and student government allows for exceptions. We also use survey sights to set up meeting times that works best for the group. If one or two cannot come set separate meeting times for individuals.

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