Living with involvement

Posted by Kaz 


A student in service does not have much time to spare.

I remember, very clearly, being against extracurricular activities when I first got to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I didn't want to join clubs because I didn't feel like I had enough time to do anything extra. During my first two semesters, I enrolled in 15 credits each and immediately found on campus employment to support myself. I thought I was the luckiest student ever because my supervisor approved me to work above twenty hours per week. 

 Not everything was perfect though. My best friend, the person who dragged me to Fairbanks to begin with, was all about the extracurricular activities. If I wanted to see her, I had to attend the various social events that she did.

Then she was nominated for Vice President of Circle K, a student service club. This was the club I refused to get involved in the most! To me, it did not seem like a club that was going anywhere and everything about the club upset me. My friend asked me to help her though because she wasn't sure what a VP should do. 

So, I went to her first officer meeting with her and I found myself weighing in on the actions of the club. Then I went to a member meeting and signed up for an event to help her. Then before I knew it, I was up until 2 a.m. with her and the President, working on booth decorations.

This went on for a while until, unfortunately, my best friend had to drop out of school due to a family emergency. Someone had to take over for VP in her absence though. There were only a few months left in the school year and only one person knew what they were doing with her gone. Yes. I officially became an active officer in the club I had disliked so much the previous semester.

I spent my summer working and planning for the next year of Circle K and recruiting new members. I  also got to know the President better because we planned to be roommates at the start of the next semester. We were roommates for a little over two years. 

After her second year as president, she stepped down and I was voted into the president position. I began to invest even more time and effort into the club. After two years of working on this small club and giving it some structure to rely on, I am working towards retirement as the Chair of Fundraising. The former president, one of my best friends, and I advise the new president. 

I'm able to list my 4 years in Circle K as a source of service and leadership experience on my resumé. Many of my best friends were made through Circle K. I have had one of my best roommates because I got involved in Circle K and one of my best friends. I've met leaders in the Fairbanks community, leaders in Alaska, leaders in the United States and leaders in the world! I've received training that is incredibly applicable to my future as a classroom teacher. I've been able to develop my speaking and project management abilities. I've also had a lot of fun.

You might ask what I had to put in to get all of that. I put in more time than I should have, more money than I could afford and more emotional investment than could be considered sane, and I wouldn't take any of that back.

Circle K has been our pet project.  Being in this club helped me realize that, no matter what an experience looks like, sounds like or acts like, it is still going to be whatever experience you want it to be. I made my experience with Circle K amazing and I got so much out of it. 

When you attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I hope that you find the time to join a club. I hope that you are able to gain your leadership and service experience (because you'll have a hard time finding a job that won't ask for it) somewhere fun and applicable to your future. I also hope you find a project that you can devote yourself to as irrationally as I did. You'll learn so much more about yourself than you would if you don't. 

Feel free to ask me if you have any questions about time management with club involvement. I've got tons of experience!

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