From the first days of freshman orientation until graduation, the theme of staying active and involved on campus is drilled into the collective heads of students. They are told that becoming active in clubs and student organizations is a significant aspect of the college experience and that the experiences they will have in those out of classroom scenarios  are equally as important to becoming a well-rounded individual. All of these are valid points as an active student body creates an environment at Keene State College of cultivated interests and opportunities to engage in extracurricular learning. One important and often overlooked aspect of being involved in clubs is the opportunity to travel and attend conferences that are sometimes not explicitly connected to a student’s major. These interests that diverge from a student’s primary academic pursuit are critical to fostering, especially if the student is given the opportunity to attend conferences or presentations in that interest.

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By actively pursuing a well-rounded education–through engaging in classes and in extracurricular activities–students are demonstrating to potential employers that they have the ability and the desire to seek out challenges, as well as the skills necessary to be engaged in various interests. These skills can range from organizational skills to balancing (sometimes) seemingly contradictory interests.

Although some professors prefer it if students do not miss class time for conferences and club commitments, it is precisely these extracurricular activities that provide students with the necessary hands-on learning that create desirable employees. At the same time, it is important–indeed imperative–for students who have obligations to let their professors know ahead of time of missing class time as it is the student’s responsibility to still do the make-up work.

It is this balancing act that truly shows the maturity and well-roundedness of an individual. Without the proper communication between student and professor, the learning opportunities provided by being involved in extracurricular activities becomes greatly diminished. In the end, the overemphasis on becoming involved on campus that students hear during freshman year–and in years following–remain critically important. The more engaged a student is in college, the more learning experiences they will have, consequently leading to a diverse skill set.

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