The Penmen Press traveling to Miami, FL for a conference in the Spring of 2017. (image credit: The Penmen Press)

Everyone thinks they know what the “traditional” or “successful” student looks like. We have perceptions and misconceptions about what it is we need to do to get a job, to get into grad school and to achieve some standard that generations of dissimilar college students have set before us.

The typical idea of the student tends to exist within the four walls of the classroom, however. Even with the upswinging and buzzwording trend of experiential learning, it is still assumed that learning happens within a building, and within a building that resides on SNHU’s campus.

Many classes, though, have begun integrating out-of-class experiences that supplement the more traditional aspects of the course. In the upcoming semester, many new courses are running with trips both domestic and abroad. This supports the growing belief that there is learning to be done outside the classroom. That there is a student that also exists outside the classroom.

Therefore, as students, it is important to become involved in clubs, activities and other opportunities that provide the chance to see the world outside of the campus and classroom environments. There are many of these opportunities that are available through multiple on-campus avenues, but students still need to pursue them independently and take ownership for the educational experience they hope to have.

Ultimately, a college education should end up being more than a degree. Seeing any part of the world beyond the university bubble is important to developing better cultural understanding, appreciation and celebration. Students can take advantage of Alternative Breaks, study abroad opportunities both on a class and semester basis, as well as by joining clubs that offer chances to attend conferences.

The faculty and administrators at a university should encourage their students to travel, whether domestically or abroad. The experience gained from such travels contribute largely to a student’s world view and is an advantage to have on a resume moving beyond their lives in college.

As a student, it is necessary to take the initiative and involve yourself in the programs that will give you the experiences you want to have. Go to info sessions, contact professors, club advisors and heads of different offices and get to know your options. It is up to you to ensure that you become involved, see the world and take control of your education.

Megan Palmer
Megan is an alumna of SNHU, formally the Editor-in-Chief of the Penmen Press. She was an English Language and Literature major with minors in communication and education, and she dedicated herself to the growth and success of SNHU's student-led newspaper. In addition to the Penmen Press, Megan also worked in the Deborah L. Coffin's Women Center, conducted extended research projects with SNHU's club for undergraduate research, and sang with her barbershop chorus.