As a student, you most likely go to class. Maybe you intermittently surf through your program’s website or occasionally attend a special event. But when you get e-mail notifications about upcoming conferences, leadership opportunities, or membership drives at academic associations, you might be tempted to push the “delete” button.
But wait! There are many reasons to get involved in your field and grad program. According to PhD student Kaitlin Gallagher from the University of Waterloo, not getting involved in extracurricular activities leaves a glaring hole in your CV. And besides, these opportunities will teach you skills you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Need some ideas to get you started? Professors and grad students and undergraduates from the University of Central Florida Department of History weigh in with the top 10 ways you can get involved at your university now:
- “The History Department usually hosts at least three lectures each year where distinguished speakers give a talk, and other departments host similar series. This is a good way to network with scholars…and most are very happy to speak with graduate students.” – Dr. Peter Larson, Head of Graduate Programs
- “If there is a speaker on campus, you want to go to that speaker. If you get a call for papers, you want to consider presenting at that conference. If Phi Alpha Theta [History Honors Society] is doing something, you want to participate in those activities.” – Dr. John Sacher, Department Chair
- “Make sure you learn how historians do their jobs. And we have workshops that are free and teach you specific skills. Outside of class, go to an oral history workshop, THAT Camp – that is a wonderful opportunity to learn how to network. You learn about how to integrate technology into the humanities.” – Dr. Rosalind Beiler, Director of Public History
- “If you have a topic that you are passionate about, talk to a professor about getting published in a journal or presenting at a conference. The faculty…can offer great insight into what journals or conferences would be best.” – Sarika Joshi
- “Utilize the classroom time to create relationships with faculty. Once they see that you are hardworking and committed, doors will begin to open for you…be open to taking on things outside of the traditional classroom setting.” – Kevin Mercer
- “After learning about the projects or events going on, offering volunteer assistance is a great start. Otherwise, enrolling in a class that will offer projects is a great way to become involved.” – Meghan Vance
- “Do not be a hermit historian! Talk to faculty, hang out at school with fellow students, and attend department events.” – Daniel Velasquez
- “[Join] Phi Alpha Theta, the History Department honor society. The organization is always putting on workshops about ways to get involved in research and gives many opportunities to be a part of things that will boost you resume.” – Tyler Campbell
- “I would say one of the best ways to get involved in the History program…is an internship…you get the chance to meet quite a few people in the department and you hands-on experience that looks great on a resume.” – Amanda Bonin
- “Volunteer to work on department-run projects…This is how professors that you do not have classes with will get to know you and how you will find out about the things going on in the department.” – Katie Kelley
Give us a shout-out with your ideas! How can grad students become more involved in their programs? In your opinion, are extracurricular activities like this really necessary and feasible?
Get involved today!
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