I’m a big fan of online shopping. I like to get good deals, like the 18” LCD monitor I got for $150 and the books I buy every semester for $100 when they should have cost me $350. It’s also great to have all those user reviews, which give you the inside info before you buy. Shopping online is all about getting the most out of your money. This article is about the online shopping of student organizations: active involvement.
“What is he talking about? Is he stupid? That doesn’t make any sense!” Calm down slugger—here we go: active involvement in your student organization lets you get the most out of the experience and helps you develop critical skills for the future. Okay. Great. Good metaphor. So what’s it really mean? Well, by active involvement I mean going beyond being a rank-and-file member–don’t just attend events; instead, participate and coordinate. Being an active element of AAA has connected me to truly wonderful people and given me the skills to lead and succeed.
Here’s an example. During the fall semester of my freshman year AAA went to MAASU Fall Leadership Conference. I was asked to go and I said “sure, why not.” On Friday, November 4th, we piled into two cars and drove several hours to Michigan State. The weekend was amazing.
We had decided to spend a night in Chicago on Friday for kicks. On the way there, I discovered the miracle of [flavor] pretzels. Delicious. In Chi-town we had dinner family style at Happy Chef in new Chinatown and I was introduced to the official beverage of Asian America and my newfound love: bubble tea.
At the retreat, IU AAA represented with true style and flair, proclaiming “Peace, Love, and Harmony” complete with hand signs. We went to lunch at Baker’s Square and had six different types of pie. The MAASU workshops were engaging, the speaker inspiring, and the party amazing. I was sold on MAASU. In retrospect, I hadn’t said “sure, why not,” if I hadn’t been willing to try it out and allow AAA to engage me, I would have missed out on all of this.
Example two: leading. Through AAA I’ve had a chance to work on a fair number of programs and projects with other able, motivated, and accomplished people. During Taste of Asia last year, I was lucky enough to chair the restaurants committee to get sponsors for the event. We were able to secure over $1000 worth of food donations for the event and contributed meaningfully to a program which drew nearly 500 people. It felt good. You know what else felt good? Putting it on my resume. And another thing: talking about it in the interview. And getting the job.
Ultimately, no matter which organization you’re in, the way to get the most out of it is to put the most into it. So don’t be a schmuck like the people paying too much at Best Buy. Don’t sit around and let AAA pass you by. Jump in and get involved. Unless you’re overcommitted. In which case you should drop out of another club to join AAA. We’re just that good.