A college student getting involved on campus can be anything between a daunting task to a remarkable and gratifying experience. A club or organization should be a platform where you can express yourself, explore different interests, and incorporate your passions.Written by Orela Anani, Peer Career Educator
The University of Maryland has over 800 hundred clubs, activities, and organizations in which students can partake. The same underlying mission is seen across the board, which is to foster a sense of community and belonging among its members. When I first started my academic journey at UMD, trying to figure out what I wanted to be a part of was overwhelming. I'm sure many of you can relate.
Here are 6 steps to help you determine what you want to do and how to go about it.
1: Determine some of your likes and interests - Think about that thing that you enjoy doing and would not mind doing on a week-to-week basis. What do you find yourself excited to talk about? What are you willing to make time for? What are some of the things you were involved in before college and what to continue doing? Whether you are drawn to sports, music, writing, acting, dancing, a club with an academic focus and the list goes on there is something at UMD for you.
2: Cast a wide net and narrow your scope - It is easier to start off considering several clubs, organizations and then take things off the list. As opposed to starting off with fewer options and eliminating the ones that do not fit your interest. You want to increase the opportunity of finding something that is just right for you.
3: Attend a few meetings or events - It is okay if you come across something you do not like. You will not like everything in college. The best way to pick the shoe that fits you is be trying on different ones. Once you find a match you will probably know.
4: Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone - The best way to learn something is by actually participating it in. You never know what you will discover or who you will become friends with by stepping out of your comfort zone. You stand to benefit immensely by introducing yourself to something that is unfamiliar to you and exploring along the way.
5: Become an active member - It is one thing to go to a meeting here and there; however, it is another thing to go to meeting consistently and attending other events or activities outside of those general meetings. By doing so you work on your time management skills, knowing you have to make time for other obligations. You also build friendships and relationships within you new niche.
6: Take on responsibility and develop leadership skills - After spending time as a general member, challenge yourself to do more as long as you can maintain a balance with school. By being a member or running for an executive board position you become a part of the process and can find ways to bring about improvements.
Getting involved may not be the easiest thing to do, but it is definitely worth your while. So dive into the involvement pool, and enjoy your college experience!