Guest Writer: Alexander Sanderson, Nursing Student
Why Should I Get Involved?
I began my journey here at IPFW with a weird mindset that wasn’t fully focused on school. Majority of students come to college thinking “I can’t wait to start my degree”, but instead I came to college thinking “I can’t wait to get involved on campus.” You see, I was so close minded about going to medical school that I convinced myself that I needed to have as many leadership positions from being involved to prove my worth. So I got involved as soon as I could and became a student senator in the summer before my first fall semester started. I became a student leader before I even became a student. But what I didn’t realize is that in hindsight, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Getting involved became something I am passionate about. It’s not just through student organizations or student life, it’s also through campus jobs and attending campus events. It became a part of my college life that I was too naïve to even understand until later on in my career. It even led me to the field of nursing where I switched my major from pre-medicine at the end of my freshman year. Getting involved provided me with opportunities to grow and explore interests outside of the classroom while also introducing me to people who are now going to impact me for the rest of my life. Before I knew it, I had gained so much experience from campus opportunities that I prepared myself to tackle one of the most challenging parts of my life. I served as Vice President of Student Government while progressing through the nursing program where I discovered many things about myself. Most importantly, getting involved on campus showed me what I wanted to be for the rest of my life and what I wanted in my life; to be a nurse and a friend, and to have happiness and love.
So What Are the Myths?
“But Alex, that’s a personal decision and there are too many reasons why I can’t get involved.” Well then let’s tackle some common myths about getting involved on campus.
Myth #1: “I Just Don’t Have the Time!”
I get it, nursing school is stressful, but you had time to watch Netflix for two hours before class. You had time to browse social media for two hours while you were “studying” after classes. If you can’t time manage, you can’t be a nurse. Time is an excuse. #SorryNotSorry
Myth #2: “Campus is so boring and dead”
We have over 125 student organizations. Campus is very much alive. If you have an interest or a passion, then seek it out. Campus postings are everywhere and opportunities are staring at you 98% of the time. Most students just never open their eyes.
Myth #3: “I work too much throughout the week”
As a nursing student, I don’t have the “time” to explain how relevant this is to myth #1. We all have to work so time is once again just an excuse.
Myth #4: “There isn’t anything here that interests me”
We literally have a student organization dedicated to nursing students. If the Student Nurses of IPFW (SNI) still doesn’t interest you, then create your own! Take some initiative and start a passion of yours. Love baking? Make a baking club! Love Netflix? Make a Netflix club! Love procrastinating? Start a procrastination club! Explore your interests!
Myth #5: This won’t do anything for my major”
Yes, it will. There are so many opportunities that provide you with experience that the classroom won’t. A textbook won’t develop who you are as a nurse, but experiences will. And if you feel like it didn’t impact you then you still had fun and stepped out of your comfort zone, right? You had opportunities to make friends and grow yourself as a person. You had experiences you can take with you on your journey. Every opportunity you take will impact your life in one way or another.
How Does This Even Relate to Nursing?
Strap yourself in for this one, because one of the best aspects of getting involved is discovering who you are and what you really want to do in the next chapter of your life. Sure, we all want to be nurses and we all want to help people (said every nurse ever). But what are you most interested in within the field of nursing? Nursing is a broad scope of so many opportunities that most nursing students fail to explore because they are so focused on passing exams. Don’t get me wrong, obviously passing is the most important aspect of your degree. But when we don’t take the time to discover what other aspects of our field have to offer or we rob ourselves of life-changing experiences, are we really even learning anything?
For example, my time throughout student government has taught me a lot about nursing. Well healthcare is highly involved in our nation’s government and even the field of nursing has a governing body. Through my involvement I’ve been exposed to many administrative opportunities that I plan on using as leadership experience in the future. I want to move into administration because I discovered my passion for it from student government. If I would have never stepped out of my comfort zone to take the steps I did as a freshman, I would have never learned that part about myself. Another part of myself is that I love teaching. I tutor friends from time to time and I usually teach friends the material for our exams. I do that because it further helps me learn the material and it’s an amazing feeling to know we all passed together. But again, I would have never discovered that if I didn’t get involved and make friends to do that with.
Beyond the Scope of Practice
So I encourage you to explore what you love to do. Not in just what our classes teach us or what our clinicals show us because let’s be honest, we’re in clincials once a week for a short amount of time and majority of it is spent gathering information for our papers. Take the time outside of your academic life and see what else interests you in college. And because our field is such a broad scope of practice, you’ll more than likely be able to find an interest that you can apply to nursing.
IPFW offers so many opportunities that so many students miss out on. We have so many student organizations, student events, campus jobs, and community involvement. From the students I have come to meet and from the students I know who are already graduated, their experiences at IPFW have made them a better nurse. Because the experiences I’ve had and the experiences they’ve encountered cannot be taught in a book or found in the classroom.
Time is an excuse that I don’t like hearing. I was Vice President of the entire student body for two years while progressing through the most challenging semesters of our nursing program. You are preaching to the choir when complaining about time management. But I’d do it all again, because the experiences I’ve had were life-changing and the relationships I’ve made are worth more than any piece of paper that tries to define me.