What’s the most important part of college, in your opinion? Is it getting good grades, impressing your professors or just making it to class on time? All those things are very important, but equally important is being involved in the campus community.
Making myself a part of the JSU community by being active in student-published media has been the second-best decision of my college career (the first was choosing to become a journalist, of course).
Even though it was intimidating to put myself out there in the beginning, doing so has improved me personally in so many different ways.
SGA President Jade Wagner says she’s a better person for getting involved, too. She says that being afraid of standing out or getting involved is a common fear of freshmen college students—one that they should ignore.
“I’ve had students tell me, I don’t want to get involved my first year because I don’t want to overload myself” with too many responsibilities on top of the daunting task of making it to class.
But if Wagner hadn’t gotten involved her first year, she says she might not still be here at JSU.
“I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today,” she realizes.
Me neither, sister: being involved with The Chanticleer got me a job doing what I love, which is writing, editing and designing a newspaper.
After getting involved with the SGA her first year at JSU, Wagner says she’s become a much better leader.
“My people skills have improved, too—I’m constantly facing challenges and sometimes disagreements, and I’ve had to learn how to deal with that,” she says. Not many classes will teach you conflict resolution like presiding over a governing body composed mostly of young adult students.
Wagner says taking a leadership role has caused her to be more outgoing, too.
“Sometimes, I’ll turn around in line at Chik-fil-a and introduce myself and ask whoever I’m talking to what they’re involved in,” she says. “If they say, ‘nothing,’ I’ll drag them up to my office and make them sign up for a club.”
A common exchange Wagner has with students who are dissatisfied with the college experience they’re receiving at JSU goes like this: “Do you enjoy going to JSU?” Wagner asks.
“They’ll tell me no, then I ask them if they go home every weekend or leave Jacksonville for any other city, and they say yes. That’s the problem,” she says. “They aren’t involved.”
Wagner loves seeing students doing something they’re passionate about, and the Office of Student Life is more than capable of helping students figure out what that something might be.
“We have a club for everything and anything you can think of,” she says. “Whether you enjoy the outdoors, quidditch or ballroom dancing, there’s a place for you at JSU.”
So if you’re feeling isolated or unhappy in Jacksonville, try getting involved in something you love.
With 40 SGA-recognized clubs on campus, the SGA itself and student media outlets WLJS and The Chanticleer, you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll enjoy.