A Senior Reflects: Campus Involvement: Taking ownership of the college experience

Before you even stepped onto the Marist campus you have heard, “Get out there and join the clubs on campus!”, but most just brush it off. Don’t brush it off.  

Starting with your parents, your tour group leader, your orientation leader and finally by your RA you’ve been badgered with the positives of joining clubs and getting involved around campus. They weren’t wrong.

Here I am, just a campus paper reporter and editor, trying to tell you what you’ve heard time and time again, but I learned it the hard way so try to not dismiss what I say this time. 

Entering the first week of my senior year I couldn’t help but reflect on my college experience so far and it wasn’t always great. 

For a while I ignored my parents, RA and anyone who said that the best way to have a good college experience is joining on-campus activities, but that’s when I started feeling lost on campus. The monotony of going to class, relaxing with friends, then repeat for weeks on end made me question what I was really doing to help fortify growth as an incoming professional.

I was always involved heavily throughout my high school career whether with sports or various extracurriculars that when I got to Marist I hit a wall of boredom and stagnation. I started blaming things.

First, it was the school. “This isn’t for me — I want to transfer,” I found myself saying.

I began blaming everything about my college experience during my freshman year on the most minute things. What I should have been focusing on was internal — I was the problem.
Marist is home to an incredibly comprehensive community of clubs on-campus that help students grow in so many ways. Some are strictly professional or academic, some are social, or there are some that do both. 

Another topic I found myself blaming time and time again was my major, “I hate my major, I don’t want this to be the rest of my life.” So I changed it. 

Towards the end of my freshman year I took a 180-degree twist in what I wanted to do with my career, and since then my entire outlook of Marist has been renewed in a positive light.

I entered Marist declared as business, expecting to graduate with a business degree and follow a path like my friends or family, but I found a passion in journalism. That opened my eyes to stop finding excuses externally and start from looking internal and grow from there.  

There are clubs for pretty much anyone on campus, it’s just a matter of looking and going to the club fair every semester. 

Having close friends like your roommate, or people down the hall is what makes college amazing, but having people who are so passionate about something so similar to you is what makes you reflect. During my senior year, I have found myself recounting regrets — being a freshman isolated in my group of friends. 

The change in my college career began with a spontaneous email to the small, but growing, student newspaper.  

I sent an email to then Editor-in-Chief Alyssa Hurlbut of the Marist Circle wondering if I can get involved, and I took a leap to get as involved as possible in this new found passion. It entirely changed my outlook of Marist. 

This is just one story of a freshman at Marist that didn’t like it at all, but didn’t do anything to change it. Don’t let that be you. Don’t go through freshman year disappointed and packing your things to come back sophomore year, wondering if you really even want to go back.

Reach out to people you know are involved, see how you can be an involved member of a club that is something you’re passionate about, but just don’t wait. 

If for some reason there isn’t a club that you like but have an idea, start your own! Be a leader on campus and make sure you mold Marist to make it feel like a second home, not just a school.

Listen to your parents, RA or any leader on campus when they say joining clubs and getting involved is an important part of college, they’re right!

Kenneth GuillaumeComment