RSOs offer leadership opportunities on campus

Members+of+the+Illinois+Student+Government+sit+together+after+being+interviewed+at+the+ISG+Complex+on+Oct.+12%2C+2019.

Brigida Dockus

Members of the Illinois Student Government sit together after being interviewed at the ISG Complex on Oct. 12, 2019.

By Elizabeth Sayasane, Features Editor

The goal of college for many students is to gain the knowledge and experience they need to be successful in their future professions. While lectures and homework will give you some of these skills, you have a lot to gain by participating in things outside of the classroom (or in Zoom meetings). Getting involved in some of the hundreds of registered student organizations (RSOs) on campus will help you excel academically, socially and professionally. 

However, it is not advisable to simply join as many organizations as you can find. You want to be strategic in how you choose what to participate in. The key is finding a balance between things you enjoy and things that will help you grow. 

You can find RSOs for almost any interest, whether that is literature, fitness, creative writing or video games. Joining one of these organizations will be great to help you destress and find friends who enjoy the same things as you. 

To balance out that involvement, you may want to join a professional society directed toward your field of study. You could also join one of the many RSOs that provides you with practical experience in what you may want to do in the future, such as the Illinois Trial Team or one of the student-run consulting groups on campus. This will help you figure out exactly what you would like to do in the future while also helping you bolster the experience section of your resume.

Be strategic with what you choose to participate in. The right combination of extracurricular activities can change your entire college experience for the better. No matter what you get involved in, however, make sure you approach it with commitment.

Some groups only meet once a week for casual gatherings. Others have large time commitments and may even require travel. Make sure you understand that commitment ahead of time, so you can be an active member. 

One of the greatest benefits of RSO involvement is the wide variety of experiences you can gain as long as you take it upon yourself to do so. While you could be a casual member who pops in and out of meetings, you could instead become a leader within the group. 

Different positions within the organization will teach you different skills and responsibilities. As a secretary, you will strengthen your communication and organization skills. If you are a marketing or recruitment leader, you can work with extending the group outside of its current members and help develop it into something bigger. As president, you will develop your public speaking skills as you lead meetings. You will become a strong leader as you determine the direction of your RSO.

All of these positions have their value, depending on what you want to accomplish. What is most important is that you work to become an active member of whatever organization you join. Attend meetings as much as you can. Make meaningful contributions while you are there. You will leave campus with a much more expansive set of skills that will help you succeed.

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