Making the transition to a legal, functioning, and productive adult in college comes with a lot of responsibility. It can also come with feelings of being lost and confused. In college, you’re cultivating your perception of the world, and sometimes you might feel disillusioned or even disappointed by how it works – politically, structurally, or institutionally.
While it may seem like you can’t do anything about it, you actually can. Your voice matters, no matter who might dismiss you as a lazy millennial. (People love to do that, don’t they?) You can get involved in big or small ways, and no matter what you do, you will make an impact.
History shows us that college organizations like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee have sparked national change. The voices of those students were heard loud and clear. Below is your guide to making sure yours is, too.
Join a Club or Organization
Getting involved in a group on campus is a great way to practice voicing your opinions and working with others.
Acting as a general member of a campus organization may seem like nothing much, but in reality, your presence and activity at meetings and events can shape how your organization runs itself, and how it runs things in the future.
Write for your Campus Paper
One of the best ways to get your opinion out there is to write for your school paper or magazine. Whether or not you have journalism experience or even if you don’t think you’re a good writer, publishing your opinion can lead to connections with other people and better articulation of your own arguments.
And if you’re not comfortable with writing for the paper, there’s nothing wrong with writing to the paper – being an active reader or critic is a great way to stay informed.
Organize and Protest
Student activism is nothing new, and worldwide protests led by students have incited revolutions, new legislation, and shifts in public opinion. If there’s a protest, peaceful march, or demonstration being led for an issue you care about, don’t be afraid to participate!
Along those same lines, if it looks like no one else is doing anything for a cause you care about, don’t be afraid to organize an event or protest yourself.
Run for an Elected Position
You can run for student body elections, or if you want something more concentrated (and maybe less political), run for the executive board or council of clubs or organizations that you’re part of.
Becoming an official allows you to represent the things and people you care about, and makes you a liaison for their concerns to the higher-ups of your school.
Volunteer Your Time
Spending your free time volunteering for events or doing community service doesn’t seem like a way to voice your opinions, but devoting time to a good cause or political campaign is an excellent way to find like-minded friends.
Volunteering also helps you learn how nonprofit organizations work, so if you find that there’s something you want to change, you now have the knowhow to go forth and get it done.
What Do You Think?
Do you agree with these tips? Have anything to add? Got any stories about college leadership? Let me know in the comments!