Colleges and universities offer so much more than an education. Most schools are a melting pot of culture and ideas and offer all sorts of opportunities for getting involved. Lifelong friendships and career-boosting experiences can be gained by getting connected with campus life. Take advantage of as many new things as possible! It’s actually been proven that students who get involved are more likely to succeed academically and to complete their degree. And after an exhaustive college search, pouring through page after page of college information, you sure want to complete your degree.
Whether you’re a resident student or part-time commuter, there are tons of ways to get out there and have some fun.
College guide: How do I get involved?
Colleges and universities offer an amazing atmosphere in which to explore a variety of different interests. Academics are key, but don’t forget to check out student associations and special activities. Some schools have hundreds of clubs, and if they don't have what you want, you can probably start one. Talk to the administration and get your hands on some college info. It usually just takes a willing spirit and a little coordinating to set up a place and time to gather.
So where do you start? Check it all out -- clubs, Greek organizations, student government, religious groups, newspaper staff, political groups, the radio or TV station, recreation activities, band, choir, biking, special-interest groups, events on campus, off-campus projects and activities, film festivals, intramural sports, concerts, and symposiums. You name it, you can probably find it!
College guide: More options
To find out what’s available, check out the new-student orientation, where several of the larger campus groups are likely to advertise their activities. Also try out the Student Life Office. You can probably get some college information from a list of all official campus groups and a copy of the Student Activities Book. Like to lend a helping hand? Look into volunteer groups such as Habitat for Humanity. Want something off the beaten path? Check the bulletin boards you see all over campus -- they might be the only place to find out about the weekly astronomy night watch.
While you're out there exploring, work out at the fitness center... and keep going if you want to fend off the freshman 15 (pounds)! Stop in at the Career Center at the college to search for part-time jobs. Ask your RA for advice, and check with other students who are involved in something you find interesting. Check out anything that tickles your fancy and find out about meeting frequency, costs, the amount of involvement expected, and attendance expectations. The bottom line is that there's no reason to be bored!
Where can you fit in, learn, relax, contribute your skills, hang out, or just plain have fun? Try these ideas:
- Visit the Student Life Office and read the Student Activities Book.
- Ask the Student Life Office for lists of religious organizations on and off campus. Many houses of worship are particularly welcoming to college students and always have volunteer opportunities.
- Read the bulletin boards.
- Read your campus e-mail, which may alert you to events and groups.
- Visit booths at the college information fair for discussion and brochures.
- Get a fitness center schedule.
- Ask experienced students for advice and information.
- Call, sign up, or attend an organization's meetings.
- Start a new club. For example, knitting's hot among young urbanites. If you learned to knit over the summer and want to meet with others who share your hobby, decide how often and where you want to meet, the degree of formality, the required level of experience of participants, and whether or not you will include a teaching component. Ask the Student Life Office about procedures and advertising.
Whatever your interest, there’s probably a way to explore it once you get to school. Live it up! You could discover a new hobby, meet new people, or find the inspiration that changes your major -- or even career.