Getting involved as a new student is both exciting and challenging. I know it was for me. You likely have heard repeatedly how important it is and it’s likely splashed in big, fun font across banners and yard signs around your campus. Everything they shared is true! Getting involved is one of the best ways to be a part of your campus community, meet new people, try new things and it even helps you graduate. But, knowing where and when to start and how to find the right opportunities for you can be overwhelming. 

Here are 5 simple tips to make it easier and ensure you do not take on too much. 

  1. Determine your interests. Outside of meeting people, involvement can help you explore who you are. To consider the which opportunities are for you, consider the following: your identities, hobbies, high school involvement, your academic program/major, causes you support, athletic interests. This list will help you focus and not get overwhelmed by the options.
  2. Know your limits. Take some time to figure out how much time you can devote to involvement. Create a mock calendar of your average week and include these items: classes, meals, relaxation time, meetings, typical hours for your part-time job, family/personal commitments, and regular appointments. You can then see what gaps you may have before you say yes to anything. Just don’t try to fill all the gaps!
  3. Do not overcommit. Just like not needing too many toppings on your ice cream, you do not need to join 20 groups at organization fair or club showcase. Go in with a plan! Use the work from tips one and two as a tool to scope out a few groups and departments to learn more about. For the other groups attending the fair, still check them out! Learn more and see what they have coming up. You may be interested in the future or find something fun to attend.
  4. Use your resources. If you are not sure where to start to find opportunities or unsure how to decide between them, use your resources. Start with offices like student activities/involvement, dean of students or academic advising or events like welcome week or fall orientation. They can help you understand where to find the information you need and help you narrow things down quickly!
  5. Have fun! Exploring all of these opportunities should be fun. Simply attend events, get to know people, and try something new. Others at the same event likely have similar interests as you, so it’s a great way to build community and a friend or two. You don’t have to be join an organization to find friends. Then, maybe you and your new friend can try an organization together!

Remember, this is your college experience. Just because there are a ton of opportunities at the start of the semester, doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities all year long. Everyone finds involvement in their own way and time. Start with these five tips and begin exploring! I am excited for you to find community!

 

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