On the day of her freshman convocation, Annelisa Cole sat in Fitzpatrick Arena with about 1,500 of her classmates and listened to speakers extoll the benefits of getting involved on the Stanislaus State campus.
But even before hearing the message, Cole was ready and willing to fully participate in student life, something she already had been dedicated to during high school.
“I remember thinking ‘Wow. I’m already planning to do all that’,” she said. “What’s important to me is to make the most of my experience while I’m here. I didn’t want to graduate thinking I could have done something more or gotten involved earlier. So for incoming freshmen, I think it’s important for them to ask themselves if they’re eventually going to regret not getting involved.”
Cole has been involved in student government and campus clubs since the moment she stepped foot on campus. She’s a second-year business administration major and communications minor who has her eyes set on graduating from Stan State next year (completing her bachelor’s degree in just three years.) Already, she’s been the treasurer for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, ran for an Associated Students, Inc., position, applied for and was accepted as a Student Representative on the University Student Union Board of Directors, served as a student marshal at commencement, was a New Student Orientation leader and was elected president of the Honors Endeavor club.
All that while taking a course load of 20 units per semester, six more during summer and winter intersessions, and commuting to school from her home in Riverbank while working in campus housing and residential life.
“In my spare time I do like to get together with my friends,” she said. “It feels like I don’t have a lot of spare time this semester, but I’m seeing that it’s bringing me closer to the friends I’ve made here. For me, it’s worth it to make the time to get involved. If you don’t think you can do it, push yourself a little bit because you’ll end up doing more than you thought you could. Before I started college, if I had made a list of all the things I’m doing now I would have said, ‘No way. I’m out.’”
Instead, she counts herself “in,” and she credits her choice to attend a college the size of Stan State as one of the major reasons she’s been able to become so involved on campus.
“Stan State is relatively small and I’m local,” she said. “I know there are students who just want to get their degrees and don’t want to get involved with anything. There may be some apathy, but all of us in student government and clubs have the power to show students what is available to them at Stan State. I think that getting involved is an important part of the college experience.”
Cole’s desire to be a part of clubs and events on campus certainly has been a driving force in her willingness to be a leader. But she also is aware of one of the great benefits of being an involved student — the chance to network and build relationships with peers on campus who share similar interests.
“I loved being involved in high school,” she said. “I loved being in the group that was involved in all of the events because I knew they’d be there for me if I had something I needed to figure out, and I get the same experience here.”
That’s why Cole takes the time to make a difference on campus.
“I know that for some people there’s the danger of burning out from this kind of a schedule, but I know that for me it’s worth the time and it’s fun,” she said. “College should be fun. If you don’t enjoy it, there’s a disconnect going on.”