The most important organizations that you could become involved in while in college, if you are desiring to succeed in your education/career journey, are those related to your career area. This will allow you to learn about the inside view of the career area and put you in the know regarding internships and coop programs. These professional organizations are that way the professionals develop and advance in their careers, as they allow for face to face interpersonal networking which provides an opportunity for dialogue with real time exchange of information and ideas.
There are several steps involved in positioning yourself for success:
- get to know yourself well enough to select a suitable career area
- get to know in person people who are working in your career area of interest
- locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which professionals in your career field belong. Many times there are student chapters of those organizations on campus. Your academic adviser, favorite professors, department head of your career area, and the reference librarian at your campus or local library should be able to help you locate such helpful groups.
Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .
Ken recommends the following next steps:
Great question! I caution all students to join clubs or organizations at the right time and try to be selective. The right time to join is the second semester or the beginning of your sophmore year. During the first semester of freshman year everything is new so you should give yourself time to get familiar with instructor expectations, study time you will need, and time to eat, sleep and groom ( hair, shower, clothes on etc.). You should also carve out time to relax, but not too much/ maybe an hour a day or two. I tend to recommend taking study breaks for :15 minutes of every hour you study. I have met with students who got over involved and spread themselves thin. I feel a safe amount of organizations at any one time is no more than two or three, that includes a Greek organization/affiliation. I hope this helps! Good luck with your education and memberships!