Ivy covered walls and lush green lawns, weekend football games and all-night study groups—this is the stereotypical college image. But do students who attend two-year colleges have the same social options as those at four-year schools?
The options are there, but it’s up to you to get involved.
Tip: Find out what’s offered
In John’s English class, he saw a flyer for a poetry reading. He heard a science professor talking about an environmental club, but other than that, his community college seems to be all work and no play.
Though John’s impression of his college is misinformed, he’s not alone. In a teacher survey of a select group of students at Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville, Pa., students were asked to list organizations on campus. Of the 24 student organizations present, students could list no more than three.
The first step to becoming a socially active student is to do some exploring. Surf the campus Web site, read the posters, and ask a professor or adviser for extracurricular recommendations.
Tip: Stay and play
Class is over, so Tanya and her classmates head to their cars. As she walks to the parking lot, it occurs to Tanya that she only knows the names of a handful of them. “Is this really what I expected from college?” she asks herself.
When classes are over at a community college, students tend to go home. Break this habit! Spend time on campus outside of class. Eating in the cafeteria or relaxing in the student lounge is a great way to get to know your classmates. And when you’re social, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the college community.
Tip: Branch out
Tyrae is searching for a campus club that interests him. Many of his friends are involved in the college chapter of the Lions Club, but Tyrae never heard of it before college. What would lure so many students to the club?
College is a time to open your mind to new things, including new social activities. Just because he never took part in the Lions Club in high school doesn’t mean it won’t interest Tyrae now. The best way to find out exactly what’s involved in the club is to attend a meeting.
Tyrae should attend a meeting or two with the premise that he’s “testing” the new club. By letting the club members know he wants to attend a meeting and see what’s involved before he makes a commitment, all will respect his decision whether or not to join.
Tip: Be a contributor
It didn’t take long to see that the college cheerleading squad wasn’t as competitive as the one Janelle had been on in high school. There were no competitions, and the routines had few gymnastic stunts. She wonders if it’s worth her time.
Instead of packing her gym bag and heading for the car, Janelle needs to find a way to help raise the team to a new level. Are team funds tight? She could help organize a fund-raiser. Be the student who makes the suggestions and takes an active role in implementing them.
Tip: Don’t overdo it
Yes, getting involved in college—even at a “commuter” campus—is important. But remember that the purpose of college is academic growth. Don’t spend every evening in the student union if an unfinished paper sits at home.