When setting foot on campus as a student for the first time, it can be overwhelming. The first week or two is all about finding your classes, learning when the lines are shortest at the dining hall, and trying not to look like the token “lost freshman.” But once you feel settled in, it’s time to step out of our comfort zone and experience all that your college has to offer – starting with organizations.
High School on Repeat
A typical college campus will have a lot of organizations to choose from, so to narrow down your search, think about what you enjoyed doing in high school and try to find something similar. Many schools have club sports teams, which offer the chance to play competitively and to travel without the major commitment of playing varsity, as well as intramural leagues. If you were a dancer, singer or in theatre, you may find groups you can audition to join. I’ve never heard of a college without a student government, so if being President of your class for four years in high school kept you busy, seek out similar opportunities to get involved with on campus. Whatever it is that you liked to do in high school, chances are you will find something to suit your preferences at your college.
Some organizations are only found on college campuses, most specifically fraternities and sororities. Social sororities and fraternities can be great if you are looking to meet people, to participate in fundraisers and to give back to the surrounding community through service events. There are several other types of fraternities as well, including professional, honorary and service, many of which are co-ed. Before you form an opinion about the Greek life on your campus, head to information sessions for a few different types to get a better understanding of the organizations and the commitment involved in joining.
Create Your Own
Can’t find quite what you are looking for? Start your own club! You can make the meetings as often as you like and with the popularity of Facebook groups, it can be easy to find other people interested in joining. As the club grows, you can look into applying for funding from your student government to help with activities. I for one wish I had started up an Irish dance club in college so I could spread my love for the dance as well as keep up with my technique.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
Let’s face it: no one likes the feeling of rejection. It can be easy to walk away from something if it doesn’t work out the first time around. If you are really interested in joining an organization, don’t let one “no” stop you from pursuing it in the future. Chances are you were nervous during some part of the audition or recruitment process and it showed. Work on whatever skill you will need to nail it the next time and show up with the confidence you need to succeed. Those making the decision understand how hard it is to go through the process again and will admire your courage. And if for some reason it doesn’t work out yet again (as it happened to me in college, so I am speaking from experience) realize it’s their loss, not yours that your time and talents will end up in a different organization.
–Erin Lenihan, Guest Blogger