I graduated from UNC Charlotte in May 2020 with degrees in History and Africana Studies. I am now in Graduate School for Higher Education and Student Affairs at UConn. In undergrad, I participated a lot of different extra-curricular opportunities. Even in high school, I filled up all my extra time with clubs and volunteer work. There are two experiences that helped me to understand my career goals within the field of higher education. First, at the beginning of my freshman year in college, my dorm director asked me if I’d be willing to volunteer to give tours of our building and my room to prospective students. Second, during my sophomore year, I started volunteering at my school’s food pantry where I worked with donors and assisted students who came in to utilize our services. Participating in these two experiences helped me understand my passion for helping others, and through them, I was able to get connected with people who are now my mentors in my field of higher education.
Here are some practical takeaways for utilizing your extra-curriculars and turning them into careers.
- Stay connected to the leaders of your organization/ job. If you are in an organization such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), it may be useful to keep contacts for future job offers, mentors for graduate school, possible internships, etc. Your experience with the group does not have to be over when the school year or summer is over.
- Choose your involvement wisely to avoid burnout. Some campus organizations require community service hours, for you to attend a certain number of events, etc. You want to choose an activity based on your interests, their requirements, and what you can give and get from the organization.
- Take on different types of roles in the organization. If you can work with the social media, finances, outreach, or other subsets of the organization, take advantage of that. Trying different roles within one organization can help you visualize if this is the right career path for you and figure out more specifically what you want to do.
With these tips, your involvement with USG, NSBE, Creating Caring Communities, Chemistry Club, Art, and History Club, etc. can go beyond your time at UConn. The fun, excitement, and passion do not have to stop just because you are no longer an undergrad. Good luck, stay involved and find your passion.