New semester, new opportunity

Alex Jobin, Staff Columnist

Although it might be easy to forget, the education available at The University of Alabama is not limited to our classrooms. 

There is a constant rotation of events, seminars and presentations throughout the semester that can help us make the most of our time here at the Capstone. These are opportunities to supplement our course loads with additional learning about topics that may pique our interests but lie outside of our particular areas of study. 

There are also organizations where we can interact with people from all different walks of life in order to better appreciate the diversity of our campus. This can help us expand our worldviews beyond our own individual backgrounds. Although it may not be education in the traditional academic sense, this is arguably an even more impactful form of learning that will shape who we become as human beings as we step further into adulthood.

These clubs and organizations are so important because they provide a chance to engage in an activity or subject that you may not already be familiar with — a chance to branch out and try something new. It’s in these new experiences and challenges that we, as college students, actually have the most opportunity. When we confine ourselves to a certain grade or a prestigious resume, we can often forget the point of college in the first place: to grow as people.

The University has a plethora of other resources available to help with any other extracurricular learning you may wish to pursue; it’s up to you to take advantage of them. From the range of texts and articles that you can access at the campus libraries, to the various services like the Speaking Studio and Writing Center, branching out can contribute to both your academic and nonacademic ambitions.

Your time here at the University is a special one, which at some point or another will come to an end. Therefore, try to capitalize on all of the resources that you have access to while you are still a student here — while you are still a professional learner. 

Many of us students are spending thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars to receive a quality education here. Even if you are here on scholarship, you are still spending a massive amount of time and effort in the pursuit of a University of Alabama degree. Now is your chance to squeeze as much value out of that education as possible. 

This does not mean that you must attend every single extracurricular lecture, join every single student organization, and spend every waking moment in Gorgas Library, but perhaps make it a point to try something new this semester. Join a new club, take advantage of a resource you have yet to utilize, or attend a seminar that sounds interesting to you. 

Whether you’re a freshman who’s still figuring things out or a senior who feels like they’ve already seen it all, there is something, somewhere, on this campus for you. Take some time to look around and find it.

Your time in college is a time to explore your interests, challenge yourself and, of course, to learn. But these concepts do not need to be confined to credit hours and graded material. There are abundant opportunities to learn and grow outside of the classroom here at the Capstone, and I encourage you to take advantage.

Questions? Email the Opinions desk at [email protected].