If you had asked me when I was a freshman if I’d one day become Editor-in-Chief of the Torch, my answer would have been a resounding “no.” Sure, I’d admired my favorite TV character, Rory Gilmore, for rising to the top of the Yale Daily News and upon graduating, receiving a job covering Barack Obama’s budding presidential campaign. But Rory was only a fictional character-I couldn’t possibly find myself in a situation similar to hers, could I?
I had always thought of myself as too shy and quiet to fill any type of leadership position at school (I wonder if this has anything to do with the time I unsuccessfully ran for student council in the sixth grade). But the great thing about college is that it gives you the opportunity to re-invent yourself; this is something that I’ve definitely taken advantage of over the last three years.
If you’re anything like me, you might not have gotten very involved in any extracurricular activities in high school. As soon as last period ended, I, like a lot of my fellow students, rushed out of the building eagerly. And while I’ve always enjoyed writing, I was too timid to ever join my school’s newspaper or literary magazine.
But after taking a journalism class my senior year, I decided that this might be something I’d like to pursue as a career. Our final assignment was to write an article for the school paper, and while I was nervous about interviewing people, it actually turned out to be fun.
So, when I went to my freshman orientation at St. John’s, I found the Torch at the activities fair and put down my e-mail address. When I got an e-mail about the first meeting of the year, I debated whether I should go, and ultimately decided I should. Going to the meeting, I thought, definitely beat sitting alone in the library during common hour while I waited for my next class to begin.
And the more I got involved with the Torch, the more I enjoyed it. Having to interview people who worked at St. John’s and go up to random students to ask for quotes helped me break out of my shell. Now, after doing this for three years, I am so much more confident in myself; it seems silly that I once was too scared to get involved in any extracurricular activity. Not only did joining the Torch allow me to become more outgoing, I’ve also met many students with similar interests, whom I’ve developed lasting friendships with outside of the office.
The school year is just beginning, so I encourage all of you to attend the activities fair being held on Tuesday, September 8 from 12-3 p.m. on the Great Lawn. There are more than 100 organizations on campus; everything from political to religious to cultural to Greek Life to honor societies. You’re bound to find one (and maybe even more) that you’d like to join.
Getting involved in an organization on campus is also a great way to boost your resume; in today’s age, it’s truly important to be able to have something that sets you apart from the rest of your peers when you finally graduate and start looking for a job (and trust me, your time at college will fly by!).
You’ll probably need to do at least one internship while you’re in college depending on what field you decide to go into. And while most internships are unpaid, even they can prove difficult to get! That’s why it’s so important that you get involved in an extracurricular activity (and hopefully it’s one that you’re passionate about).
This is especially true for the field of journalism, which is very competitive. This semester, I’ll be doing my fourth internship; none of them would have been possible had I not joined the Torch. More than anything (more than even my writing), my bosses were all impressed that I held a leadership position on my school paper. And the skills that I learned while working on The Torch helped me be a successful intern.
When I graduate in May and look back at my four years at St. John’s, I know that what I’ll remember most is my time spent on the Torch. Sure, it’s certainly stressed me out (hello all-nighters!), but it’s definitely shaped my college experience into one that I enjoyed more than I ever thought I would.