By Wes Taylor
As my last semester of college comes to a close, and I’m not able to do some of things I loved to do so much in past years, I keep thinking of things I wish I would have known or done as a younger student. There are simple things, like go to as many sports events as you possibly can; go to the football games that are 15 below with snow falling, go to the volleyball and basketball games, go to the club games like rugby and baseball. Every single event is fun because everyone there has something in common with you: they love the University of Wyoming and they love their Pokes! I regret every single game that I skipped now that I am almost done being a student. There are more complicated things, too, like me wishing I would have known how to manage my money better. Here’s a hint: look up how to make a budget in Excel. It sounds obvious, but a lot of people don’t do it! I didn’t until my junior year!
While things like these have been crossing my mind a lot lately, I keep coming back to one thing that I do not regret or wish I could have done differently. The one thing that I think all students need to hear is to get involved. Getting involved with different clubs, organizations, and projects has been the highlight of my college career. I have so many great friends and memories and experiences that I would not have if I hadn’t been involved. Throughout college, I have been in seven different clubs or organizations. Each of them have amazing people that I now consider lifelong friends, amazing opportunities to serve and develop personally and professionally, and countless laughs, unforgettable moments, and life experiences.
There are tons of opportunities to get involved on campus, and even in the college of ag. Obviously, there is Ag Ambassadors, and I can’t recommend that enough. You meet amazing students and faculty, get to be a student voice to the college’s trustees, and help incoming students find their place. There are also clubs and organizations for pretty much every major in the college. Check out Young Farmers and Ranchers, or Alpha Tau Alpha, or the ACRES Farm to start out. Fraternities and sororities are also a great way to get involved, especially if you’re looking for an extended family to have throughout college. There’s a fraternity or sorority for everyone, and I found mine in Alpha Gamma Rho, the ag fraternity. There is also Sigma Alpha, the ag sorority. There are so many places to get involved on campus, even in our tiny college!
Through every single club, I have learned or done something that has improved my life in some way. Even if you’re not looking for friends or memories, being involved looks good on your resume. Take it from me, you’ll be applying for jobs a lot sooner than you think. One day you’ll be working on homework and realize you’re about to graduate. Grades look good on a resume, don’t get me wrong, but employers like to see that you were able to balance grades with other commitments. They also like to see leadership and professional experience. A healthy resume, full of extracurricular activities, shows both of things.
Now, there is something to consider when getting involved, and that is your own time. I had a very hard time saying no early off in college, and I learned the hard way what that can do. I mentioned I’ve been in seven clubs and organizations, but I didn’t mention that I was in six at once at one point. Combine that with working part time and taking 18 credits, and you have a recipe for disaster…or at least exhaustion. So while you really should get involved, make sure you’re careful about not taking on too much. You can only handle so much, and you need time to relax and de-stress. Learn to say no when you’ve reached your limit, and learn to evaluate which groups you get the most benefit out of being in.
From all the relationships I’ve made, to the experiences and memories I’ve gained and the life lessons I’ve learned, I absolutely do not regret being involved. College is for learning, and outside of your classes, you’ll learn about life, other people, and yourself. It is all 100% worth it. I urge you to go to one meeting for anything that sounds even remotely interesting. Worst case scenario, you get free pizza and never go back. Best case scenario, you find your people and your place, and you never look back.