Students in the Heavener Leadership Challenge hold up a program sign at Lake Wauburg

Why it’s better being involved

Christine Haworth (kneeling) and her EWITS team.

Christine Haworth (kneeling) and her Empowering Women in Technology Startups (EWITS) team.

By Christine Haworth, BSBA ’18, MSE ’19

College is a juggling act, between school, family and friend commitments, and the ever-growing need for sleep, it can be a lot.

While it might be easy to limit your time on campus to classes only, being involved on campus and in the Gainesville community enriches your college experience, and is something that can’t be replicated later on in life.

But don’t just take it from me. One of my fellow students Travis Ryckewaert, a fourth year combination degree student in the Master of Science in Information Systems and Operations Management program, said that being involved has had an immense impact on his college experience.

“Before I joined HLC (Heavener Leadership Challenge) I was more of a shy, reserved person,” he said. “I didn’t have the confidence to get in the front of a room and speak to a bunch of people, or to lead anyone in anyway. It helped put me outside of my comfort zone. If I have this vision of myself to be a leader in the future, I have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, and HLC has prepared me for that.”

Aside from the benefits of skill and character development, being involved can open the door to new opportunities.

GatorTech organization members hold up one student while smiling.

Travis Ryckewaert (left) and the GatorTech Executive Board.

“Being involved with [technology student organization] GatorTech actually helped me get my upcoming internship for this summer,” he added. “I met some employees from the company at a GatorTech meeting over a year ago, and through my interactions with them, it started up a conversation and helped progress me through the internship process this past fall, and eventually secure the internship.”

During the fall semester, I participated in the Empowering Women in Technology Startups (EWITS) Program that was hosted through the Innovation Hub. Through the program, I had a chance to try on many different hats in areas of business I was interested in but hadn’t had a specific class on. Our team worked together to create a business model and plan for a UF technology, and through this hands-on experience I was able to grow my skill set. If I hadn’t been open to doing programs outside of the required coursework, I would never have had that experience, or gained the benefits from it.

Involvement in organizations can also provide a sense of comradery in an otherwise big school. With over 50,000 students registered in undergraduate and graduate programs, meeting people and having a place on campus might seem daunting. Organizations can help shrink the university and help you find “your place”.

Being involved is more than an activity to list on your resume, it can provide connections that make new opportunities possible, develop your skills, and truly shape your college experience. As a Gator getting ready to graduate for a second time this summer, my advice would be to get involved to make the most of your time at the Warrington College of Business.