As Sean Heffron says in “The Skinny on Your First Year in College,” there is a positive correlation between one’s involvement on campus and one’s GPA. Not only that, students who are involved on campus are also happier and more connected than their peers who are not. Getting involved on campus can also pave the way for connections and skills that you may call on after you graduate and enter into the world off campus.
So, what can you do to become more involved on campus? Here are some resources and tips to get you involved and happy on campus.
Take advantage of orientation and welcome week. This is one of your first opportunities to get acquainted with the campus as well as with the upperclassmen. Use them as your key to everything related to the campus. Chances are, your RAs, campus guides and the students working the orientation week gatherings are already very involved in everything going on on-campus. They will be your best resource for finding out what organizations there are, where they meet and where to find out more info about them. You can also meet with your advisor or the Dean of Women/Men to find out more information about campus organizations. In addition, some schools set up tables promoting specific organizations during orientation specifically for freshmen to discover. Use these to your advantage!
Consider your interests and strengths. Are you passionate about politics? Then ask specifically about getting involved in student government for your class or the student body as a whole. If you’re interested in intercollegiate sports then check out the sports complex for flyers about lesser-known sports or informal games and sports leagues.
Branch out and start a club on your own. You may want to wait until your sophomore year before taking on this task, but, if you notice that your passion isn’t recognized by a club or organization, don’t be afraid to form one on your own. If you want it to be recognized by the campus, there will have to be forms to fill out and other paperwork to be done, but you can easily form a club without campus backing. Post flyers in dorms, cafeterias, classrooms and common areas for others to see and get your friends involved.
Try to limit the frequency of your trips home. Sean Heffron also points out in “The Skinny” that the more often students go home, and the longer they stay there, the less likely they are to be aware of what is going on on-campus and get involved with it. You should definitely take time to visit your family and friends back home, but try not to go home every weekend. This will help make college feel more like a second home.
Remember, the best way to become involved and meet people is by putting in the effort to do so and doing so as soon as possible. Groups of friends and acquaintances are made in the first few weeks of the semester, so that is the time to make connections. If you wait, it will become more awkward, and more difficult, to make the connections later on.