Getting Involved From A Cox Scholar's Perspective

Hey guys! Welcome to my first blog post as a Cox Scholar Ambassador. I'm a Cox Engagement Scholar, meaning I work as an ACE (Advocate for Community Engagement) for the University to supervise and better the Service-Learning Program at the Boys and Girls Club downtown Bloomington. [To learn more about the Cox Scholarships, click here.]

In a nutshell, I wear a lot of business casual, hang out with B-town's finest, and am spoiled with free IU draw-string backpacks and Tervis mugs. It's a pretty good gig if you ask me. 

Cox Scholar Induction Ceremony, Alumni Hall, September 2014. 

So, Engagement.

My scholarship brings on a hefty set of responsibilities. From managing IU Students to holding meetings with faculty, there's quite a bit to do and about thirty ways to do it. The job is in no way easy and I know that though being a Cox Scholar is the bomb, it's not for everyone. Furthermore, being heavily involved in college in general isn't for everyone. However if being an Engagement Scholar has taught me one thing, it's the importance of living an engaged life. There's a difference between being involved and being engaged here in Bloomington, and here's what I mean by that.

Forget what you know about being "engaged".

There's a lot of stigma around the meanings of words like "engaged" or "involved". Forget those connotations. Try these instead:

-Absorbed [ab-sawrbd, -zawrbd] (adj): deeply interested.

If you've ever been around babies or toddlers, you know to watch your language and be on model behavior. Why is this? According to the Oxford Brain Journal, "Babies are like a sponge, they are ready to absorb whatever information they can - and boy - they can't grasp it fast enough!".

Being in college is no different. We are babies in the adult world. Our minds are again sponges, capable of soaking in each bit of our environments. Open your eyes and ears, and let the information pour in. You'd be amazed by what happens if you put your phone away for an hour and walk through Bloomington. In fact, I dare you to do that. Keep your head on a swivel, walk slowly, and absorb a culture outside of campus's bounds.

-Active [ak-tiv] (adj): being in a state of progress or motion.

Once you start picking up what your environment's putting down, do something with it. Take all that absorbed information swirling around in your head and form an opinion!

The coolest part about being active in college is that you get to do exactly what you want to do. If you have totally different aspirations than your siblings, different political views than your parents, this is the time to educate yourself on what's out there and try new things. That's what college is for! Just be sure to keep moving towards something important to you.

-Committed [kuh-mit-d] (adj): to pledge (oneself) to a position on an issue or question.

Committing yourself to something can be the trickiest part of the entire process. For me, my scholarship is what I use to commit time and energy- but there are so many other outlets to plug into.

IU offers classes from History of Rock And Roll to Wilderness Survival to Human Sexuality. Choosing classes that spark your interest is key. Dabble in whatever your schedule allows, because those fun classes end up being a hefty dose of Ibuprofen for the week. Aside from that, join a club. A band. Sign up for IUDM or the Color Run or the Nearly Naked Mile. This is what being engaged is all about. You have to find what sparks your interest, and plug into your new outlet.

-Steady [sted-ee] (adj): firmly placed or fixed; stable in position. 

Once you've committed yourself to something, be genuine in your efforts to maintain that pledge. Just stick to it. It's that simple. 

Thanks for reading, everyone! Stay tuned for some slightly less-obligatory posts from yours truly. 

About The Author
Michelle LongAdvocate for Community Engagement

I'm Michelle, and I am a Cox Engagement Scholar and an ACE (Advocate for Community Engagement) for the University. I'm studying a plethora of cool stuff including Policy Analysis and Spanish, eat Pop Tarts on the daily, and love IU!