Throughout my time at Wharton, I’ve had the opportunity to rise to different leadership positions in my extracurricular activities. Through these positions, I have developed strong relationships with the administration of Wharton Student Life, established a network with alumni and other student leaders, and found ways to continue giving back to the Wharton undergraduate community. As I enter my final semester at Wharton, I will soon hand off my responsibilities to other members of the undergraduate community. With this time quickly approaching, I desire to reflect upon my extracurricular involvements at Penn and how they have helped me become who I am today.
As a freshman, finding the clubs that were right for me was difficult. Wharton Clubbing Night, a time where students can explore over 40 Wharton clubs, and the SAC Club Fair, where students can learn about over 300 Penn clubs, can often be overwhelming. After much exploration, some rejections and thankfully some acceptances, I was able to come upon the clubs that best matched my interests.
To this day, I have remained actively involved with the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association (BWUA), the Wharton Ambassadors (WHAMB), as well as various mentorship and tutoring programs on campus. After three years of involvement, I currently hold the leadership positions of vice president of external relations for BWUA and senior advisory board member of WHAMB, and I am one of 18 Wharton Peer Advising Fellows.
However, in the words of Uncle Ben from the movie, Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” From my freshman year to the present day, I found myself devoting progressively larger amounts of time to these organizations, spending many late nights covering logistics of personally led initiatives or hosting meetings throughout the day with different students across all classes. It was quite an adjustment to make at first, and it was difficult to understand why I was using my time in this manner when it could be put towards my studies. When times were tough, I heavily considered dropping my extracurricular involvements and wondered if I had bitten more than I could chew. Thankfully, over time, it appeared that I had found the perfect balance for me.
What kept me involved in these organizations was my passion. In my mind, these organizations had become an integral part of my college identity, and it was my passion that allowed me to rise as a leader. Although extracurriculars aren’t graded and don’t contribute to my GPA, they did provide unique leadership opportunities that I could speak to on my résumé, helping me land summer internships and secure a full-time job after graduation.
At the same time, the tangible things that have resulted from my club involvements are merely a fraction of the reasons why I appreciate the organizations. I will forever be grateful for having been a part of something greater than myself and joining a legacy of great student leaders at the Wharton School. Looking back on my time at Wharton and my involvements at Penn, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Editor’s note: The original version of the article appeared on the Wharton Undergraduate Program’s Student Voices Blog on Feb. 7, 2016.