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Making Your Mark at MTSU

A newly minted group of MTSU’s Class of 2019 proudly display their degrees as they prepare to leave Murphy Center Aug. 10 after the university’s summer 2019 commencement ceremony. MTSU's fall 2019 commencement ceremonies are set Saturday, Dec. 14.(MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Class, homework, exams, credits, commencement. In theory, that is the only cycle you are required to participate in if you want a college degree.

For some, jobs and families make it tough to do much more than that, but you’re missing out on the best part of college if you treat it as a mundane cycle of registering for classes and receiving grades.

MTSU, in a way, is a blank canvas. Well, not quite blank, since we’ve been around since 1911. But there is always room for you to make your mark as a Blue Raider. There are a million ways to make a positive impact on our campus, but here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Join or Create a Student Organization

Members of the Blue Zoo holding up their infamous banner in section 1F.

College isn’t just about classes and homework. If it was, we would just call it high school 2.0–and no one wants that. College is about meeting new people, doing things you enjoy, and standing up for what you care about!

Over 300 student organizations are hosted on MTSU’s campus, so you’ll definitely find a group for you. A lot of these organizations have a certain goal or mission in mind, often offering a benefit to the community. Some are just focused on a hobby or activity, and that’s cool, too! Simply being a part of something like this is a great way to leave your mark.

Despite there being over 300 organizations, there is always room for one more!

If you are passionate about something, you can always form your own student organization. 

Whether it be a group promoting civic engagement or an organization pushing for better attendance at football games, students have created organizations that provide tangible benefits to the MTSU community.

Do Research

Joseph Gulizia, left, discusses his kudzu research project Feb. 26 with MTSU professor Charlie Baum, who is a freshman legislator in the Tennessee House of Representatives, at the state Capitol during Posters at the Capitol. Gulizia, who is from Fairview, Tenn., is an animal science major in the School of Agriculture. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Joseph Gulizia, left, discusses his kudzu research project Feb. 26 with MTSU professor Charlie Baum, who is a freshman legislator in the Tennessee House of Representatives, at the state Capitol during Posters at the Capitol. Gulizia, who is from Fairview, Tenn., is an animal science major in the School of Agriculture. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

How would you feel if you came up with a completely new thought that could be shared with industry professionals around the world? 

Throughout your time at MTSU, there are some amazing opportunities for you to conduct research, present it at conferences, and possibly even get published! 

You’ll also develop valuable soft skills and potentially earn some letters of recommendation from professors for either graduate school or for your career. 

It may sound extremely time consuming and perhaps even boring to the ear, but I promise that there is no better feeling than working with professors, gathering data, and forming a new idea from your efforts. It is the best way to add value to your degree without taking any additional classes!

Live out the True Blue Pledge

The True Blue Pledge

The chance to leave your mark on MTSU’s campus doesn’t stop when you walk across that stage. When you enter the *gasp* real world, you enter it as a representative of the school you’re leaving.

Remember that True Blue Pledge you took as a wide-eyed incoming freshman? You didn’t just commit to being a Blue Raider for 4+ years, you committed to being one now and forever! And while you may not sit in the Blue Zoo forever at football games or eat patty melts from McCallie’s, you can still be a valuable contributor to MTSU’s progress and success.

If you go out and commit to listening, learning, giving, honesty, and nonviolence, you’ll leave your mark on the school in a truly impactful way.

Be brave and do something big

I’m going to go out on a limb here – Your biggest dream is not to simply get into college, attend classes, and get your degree. A lot of us have big dreams that aren’t even related to what we’re studying in our classes.

When Grammy-nominated producer Tay Keith was dropping No. 1 singles, he was still taking classes to finish his degree. He could have spent even more time crushing the music industry instead of doing homework, but he insisted on doing both.

“I want to prove that you can go to school and still chase your dream, too,” Tay was quoted as saying.

So no matter what your dream is, don’t be afraid to chase it while you’re here. Come up with something big, step outside your comfort zone, and take some risks. You may end up creating the next great thing that doesn’t exist yet – and isn’t that what leaving your mark is all about?

Author Kobe Hermann is a senior at MTSU, majoring in management in the Jones College of Business and minoring in economics and business administration. The views and opinions expressed above are his own.


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