Take a risk in college

300 DPI Illustration of a busy high school senior that is hopeful for her future. TNS 2016

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College can be hard when you struggle to fit in.

My freshman year was anything but fun. I knew one person at Dixie State University, and I wasn’t involved at all. This led to homesickness, lack of motivation and depression. I did not feel like I belonged in St. George.

But the moment I took a risk and made myself vulnerable, my life changed.

One day my English professor was passing back our essays, and when I received mine, a little note on the bottom of my paper said, “Talk to me after class.”

My hands immediately started sweating and my mind was racing. I thought I had cited everything correctly, but maybe not. However, once I went up to my professor after class, he told me, “You need to pursue a degree that has to do with writing.”

That one sentence gave me confidence in school that I had never had.

If it wasn’t for this professor, I would have never reached out to the Dixie Sun and found a major I love. Getting involved with the Dixie Sun gave me confidence when talking to others, and eventually I had a whole new friend group on campus.

This domino effect spread to all areas of my life and provided me with self-assurance I didn’t know I needed.

Reaching out to these groups initially was hard for me. I didn’t want to face failure, and I especially didn’t want to be laughed at. It is still uncomfortable for me to try something new, but I’ve learned to embrace the nerves and use them to build myself up. My involvement on campus has provided me with endless opportunities for networking, leadership and of course, making new friends.

According to the Journal of College Student Personnel, student involvement is a significant contributor to desirable outcomes of the college student experience. This isn’t saying getting involved cures depression, but it does help you enjoy your college experience more.

Getting involved is also crucial for networking and building relationships. College is a place where you can mingle with people with all different talents from all different places. If you network while you are young, one day you can reach out to those college friends when you are in need. It is often said that “It’s who you know, not what you know.”

Sometimes, it can be hard to get involved when you have no talent, self confidence or just don’t like people. Trust me. I know. But there’s something for everyone. Some of the groups on campus like the Multicultural and Inclusion Center, the Dixie Sun, the Student Alumni Association, DECA and the Biomechanics and Sport Science Lab are lesser known and are great ways to get involved. There’s a group for pretty much every interest on campus. There’s no complete list anywere, but some can be found on https://mic.dixie.edu/student-clubs/ and more on https://orgsync.com/home/468.

Take a risk. Get out of your comfort zone. Maybe you’ll find something you love and it will change your life. If not, then you will only gain experience.