Better This Way: How Campus Involvement Revived My Passion for Academics

Better This Way: How Campus Involvement Revived My Passion for Academics

Ronnie Miller, Senior Editor

“Okay. If I have class from 10:00-11:50 and then again from 2:00-3:50, that means if it takes me 20 minutes to get home and 20 minutes to drive back, I’ll have an hour and a half to go home and watch a few episodes of 30 Rock.”

“Man, that Marine Biology class looks really interesting, but five hours including lab? I don’t want to be on campus for that long.”

“Today is Club Day? Better take the long route to class in order to avoid the quad. I might be a few minutes late, but…

…everything is better this way.”

These were the inner monologues of Ronnie Miller, circa January 2016. This attitude, mind you, was self-imposed. Many students cannot afford to be on campus for as long as I had the opportunity to because of external commitments and obligations. However, as a result of my attitude, I did not make full use of the resources at my disposal. All I wanted to do was stay at home and avoid campus as much as I could.

I was relatively unhappy this way, but never made the connection between my poor outlook on being at Foothill and my unhappiness. When I was in high school, my schoolwork had been at the core of my passion and identity; but after abruptly leaving university before the end of my first semester, my previous love for school was significantly damaged.

But as my first quarter turned into my second, and then third, small experiences made slight adjustments to how much time I spent on campus. After meeting a new friend in class, I often found myself camping out in KJ’s or the library with her while she waited for the bus. I would sometimes feel an itch to go home so I could relax once more, which I acted upon occasionally, but as I spent more time on campus, the amount of people I met that I discovered I wanted to spend time with only grew.

And the best place to do that was on campus.

It wasn’t until summer quarter ended that I realized how much I missed being on campus. I looked at my calendar and felt genuinely disappointed that I had six weeks off; six weeks of not being on campus. Six weeks of no green tea lattes from KJ’s. Six weeks of not running into my favorite tutors in the STEM Center.

Something clicked in me that summer. I found myself impatiently waiting for the Fall quarter to start so I could fully dive into life on campus like never before. So as soon as the quarter started, I did. I picked up an ASFC application my first week. I enrolled in more classes and units than I’d ever taken before. I eagerly awaited Club Day and when that came, I signed up for several new clubs, and ran for an officer position for Women in STEM (which I remain Treasurer of). I even decided to work with a new friend on a school magazine focused on climate change, an issue I’d grown very passionate about from my class experiences at Foothill. And the more involved I became, the more I found myself longing to be on campus — and the more I found my love for school returning to me. Recently, I finally feel like I have regained my previous sense of academic identity: my confidence in my schoolwork, and myself, has amplified exponentially as I spend more time engaged in activities I love at Foothill.

Though granted, not everyone has the interests as I; there is a great diversity of events, activities, clubs, classes, and groups. Club Day on April 19 offers a variety of student-led organizations you can join this coming school year. The marketing department has compiled an exciting and comprehensive list of resources and activities currently available on campus. If you’re interested, please check out Foothill’s “The Heights.”

I truly believe that life at Foothill is what you make of it — you can be as involved as suits your needs. You get out what you put in; I felt myself feeling alone and isolated when I stayed off campus, and the exact opposite now that I’m more involved. I’ve rediscovered my lost passion for learning by spending more time on campus and associating myself with like-minded students who I can connect to. I don’t have much time to stay at home and watch 30 Rock anymore, but I’m okay with it. After all…

…everything is better this way.

Want to get more involved on campus, but don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas to get you started!

-Sign up for student-led organizations on Club Day

-Visit the STEM Center to meet other students taking similar classes and view opportunities posted on the bulletin boards

-Try out for a school sport or team

-Join the Community Ambassador Program

-Join Foothill’s Student Government, ASFC

Additionally, you can always discuss your interests with a college counselor to learn more about activities specific to you!