Opinion: College experience beyond the GPA

Bret Belden

The Durham 500

By Greg Gottlieb

University Day is in the rearview mirror, campus bulletin boards are jam-packed with fliers, and the sound of sorority women’s voices resonating throughout campus seems to be a nightly affair; it’s the sweet smell of student-org recruitment season (and perhaps girly pumpkin-flavored coffee, as well).

College is weird. Have you ever stopped to think about our little made-up, illusory world we live in here? Recall back to a time when the only thing you knew about college was that it was a place you would go after you got an education to get another education. What you may not have known at that time, was that on freshman year move-in day, you were entering a place wherein political advocacy, groundbreaking research, creativity at the forefront of modern arts, multitudes of philanthropy, and flourishing social communities converge.

But the magical part about getting involved in these wonderful things is that you don’t need to take part in them alone. U-Day, rush shirts, fliers, sidewalk chalk ads, recruitment tables; all of this exists for you.

Maybe all of this can come off a tad overwhelming for the incoming freshman or even an elder student searching for a more encompassing relationship with his or her school. Learning more or showing interest in a student org should not be perceived as intimidating. The truth is you owe it to yourself to get out there and see what this school has to offer beyond the classroom. Chances are that by jumping into a new environment outside of your comfort zone, you’ll open the door to a new social circle that has the potential to change the course of the rest of your life. After all, most careers and long-term relationships you find yourself in down the road will be traced back to the very decisions you made at this time in your life.

As a senior, I often look back at all of the clubs and organizations that I chose to involve myself in and wonder which ones I may have missed out on. When doing this, though, I find that I may have been slightly “too involved” with numerous organizations, and thus too uninvolved with each of them individually. Although it is unwise to put all of your eggs in one basket, it can be just as detrimental to put your eggs into too many baskets. In that light, it’s important to truly invest your extracurricular time doing what you love and getting involved in the activities that truly interest you or that you may not know interest you.

With such a diverse array of organizations at the hands of students, you’re sure to find at least one that you would want to be a part of. Some clubs are designed to get their members away from campus to explore the natural beauty of New England, while others are designed to grow and develop their members as future professionals in their respective fields. In the interest of Greek Life, fraternities and sororities are designed to harbor a familial environment and promote common principles deeply valued by their members.

UNH students are granted with seemingly infinite tools to help us delve further into our personal passions and we are given endless freedom to discover new ones. It’s never too late to consider the organizational opportunities available to you. It’s as simple as logging on to wildcatlink.unh.edu and browsing the directory of hundreds of student-led groups.

Involvement in one’s school has become a key determinant in employers’ rubrics when hiring graduates. No longer is the GPA the dominant bulletpoint on a graduate’s resume; rather, the future, more than ever, holds great opportunity for creative and imaginative people who immerse themselves in forward-thinking, problem-solving, leadership environments.

Greg Gottlieb is a senior hospitality management major who comments on noteworthy topics in the UNH and Durham communities.