Take chances to chat with groups visiting campus

One particular day during the spring semester, I was walking through the Rhatigan Student Center after a rough morning of classes.

My eyes briefly settled upon a table advertising summer jobs at Camp Wood. A seemingly nervous man stood behind the table and glanced around, waiting for the next interested person.

Intuition hit me and I was compelled to speak with the man — who I now know as “Random.” This is how I came to spend my whole summer in the midst of the Flint Hills ensuring the happiness and well-being of children at a summer camp.

From the end of May to the beginning of August, I worked at Camp Wood YMCA as a cabin counselor. Each week, a new group of kids would come to camp on Sunday afternoon and they wouldn’t leave until Saturday afternoon, six days later. Most of the time, I worked by myself and led my group of about six campers to meal times, bathrooms, tower climbing, bike or horse riding, campouts, the lake. The list goes on.

Despite all my crazy experiences at camp, the part I couldn’t fathom was that I was the only counselor from Wichita State. Everyone else who walked through the RSC that day either ignored Random’s table or didn’t think a summer camp job was for them.

On top of that, after speaking with Random that day, a staff member walked up to me and told me he was glad I went up and spoke with Random because almost nobody else had even talked to him.

A summer job at a non-profit workplace like Camp Wood YMCA goes a long way for college students. The responsibilities given to workers at Dillons or Wal-Mart pale in comparison to the wealth of responsibilities and experiences offered at a summer camp job.

 My own experiences include leading a bike camp, leading a middle school leadership camp and leading my campers through reflections every night to help them grow closer to one another and get into the spirit of camp. Hopefully you can now understand my surprise at being the only counselor from WSU.

I know that a summer camp counselor job isn’t for everyone, but there are many other opportunities offered on campus every day. There are organizations to join, friends to make, campus jobs to earn and experiences to never forget.

I really think I grew during my time at camp. After the first few weeks, I almost quit. Luckily, I stayed and I went from feeling anxious during “meal time mockeries” to getting up and singing “I Believe I Can Fly” in front of 120 people.

Take this as a warning — or a PSA. Make sure to keep your eyes open for opportunities on campus and don’t hold yourself back from even the opportunity in the first place.

If you see a table in the RSC that looks even semi-interesting to you, don’t pass it up. Go over and have a chat with whoever is there.

At the very least you will have met someone new or have an interesting conversation.