Most first-year students are really excited to be at college and to continue their education. However, adapting to college life and academics is not always easy. Many first and second-year students are exposed to new sources of stress as they learn to balance academic demands, extracurricular activities, and a social life. NSCS can really help ease this transition and set first and second-year students off on the right path.
To get more perspective on the benefits of NSCS membership for first and second-year students, we spoke with Professor Martha Halihan, the NSCS Chapter Advisor at Oklahoma State University. Professor Halihan has worked with a lot of first and second-year students, and so she is quite in-tune with their needs and the challenges they face. When asked to comment on this topic, she said,
“Because I work with a lot of freshmen and sophomores at OSU, I can see that NSCS is a valuable thing for them because they get to meet students outside their major who are also high-performing who feel the same stresses and pressures that they do.”
This raises a really good point. A lot of new students feel quite alone, or like they are the only ones struggling to adapt. In reality, though, their struggles are very common, and they can benefit from talking to and connecting with other students who are dealing with the same thing. NSCS gives them a place to do that.
Professor Halihan also pointed out that through NSCS, students are able to connect with others outside their major. This is vital, we feel. So often, students have classes with those in their same major, and at some schools, they even stay in dorms with students in their same major. This does not lend itself to a lot of diverse experiences or ideas. Joining NSCS gives students an opportunity to meet and network with students in other programs. It can be really eye-opening for students to realize, first-hand, that those in other majors face similar stressors and challenges in adapting to college life.
Professor Halihan went on to say,
“It’s a good way for them to stretch their skills and meet new people.”
There’s a lot of good information in that one statement! College is not just about learning classroom material. It is also about developing skills that make one a more well-rounded member of society. Some of these skills are not easily taught in a classroom setting. However, they can be gained through leadership opportunities, internships, and community service projects that NSCS members have access to. When student start developing these skills early on in their freshman or sophomore year of college, they have plenty of time to really hone those skills by the time they graduate.
We also want to point out that Professor Halihan mentioned meeting other people. NSCS members don’t just meet other students. They also have opportunities to network with various industry leaders and community members. The relationships they form through these networking opportunities may help them make smarter decisions as to what coursework to take and what activities to participate in throughout the rest of their college experiences. Some students have gotten internships and even jobs through the connections they make during their first or second year in NSCS.
NSCS membership is not just for juniors and seniors. Our younger members get a lot out of the programs offered, too. Joining NSCS can help freshman and sophomore students work through stress, form friendships, network, and develop a more expansive view of the world.