When you first start college you should have a little bit of an idea of what you want to major in, what hobbies you enjoy and want to stay involved in, and what you want to learn and experience during your college career. Though even if you have no idea what you are doing at college, you are probably still thinking about how you want to have a good time while you are there.
Why not have fun and get involved in your college at the same time? College campuses almost always offer a way for students to get involved in things that they will enjoy doing, whether it be a club sport, academic endeavor, or joining a club to find people to play board games with. College is your time to take advantage of all of the opportunities to experience new things and meet new people. Joining clubs, organizations, and activities is the perfect way to do so.
Why is it important to get involved?
Studies show that students who are involved in campus activities, clubs, and organizations are more likely to succeed academically, complete their degree, and find a job after graduation. That's really all there is to it. If you are majoring in engineering, joining the engineering club. If you want to play soccer or tennis but aren't able to play for the college's team, join a club sport. Want to start a business after you graduate? Join the entrepreneur or business club. Colleges offer opportunities to do just about anything you want because students in all backgrounds in the past or present have created an organization to fit their likes and dislikes.
Being involved in a club is also great for the resume, especially if you end up getting a leadership position. Clubs will typically hold events on campus and you will gain work-skills like event planning, money management, leadership, and collaboration.
Ways to get involved on campus
The first thing you should look at is the college's student activities and/or student life office. These offices are dedicated to getting students involved in campus activities and organizations and will have a list of what they offer. Each campus is different, but almost every campus will have something to offer you. The exception to this may be full online or distance learning institutions who don't have the infrastructure or need for student activities.
Also, when you go to student orientation, ask questions and keep your eye out for organizations who are actively looking for new members. This can be Greek organizations, student government, religious clubs, college newspaper, activist orgs, student radio or TV station, band, choir, and other special-interest groups.
And lastly, if they don't have an organization or club you want to be involved with, start one! Ask the Student Life office how to and what you need to do to start a club. Colleges will often help financially with starting a club for marketing and event sponsorship. This can be great for your resume and can help other students who are in the same position as you.
Off-campus volunteer opportunities and involvement
If you really don't find anything you want to be involved in on campus, look for opportunities off-campus. College towns will usually have a lot of organizations off campus to get students involved in their community by volunteering or as a part-time job. College, whether on-campus or off, is a time for you to experience life, experience new things, and get better at things you already enjoy.
Even if you don't want to officially join a club, keep an eye on the campus bulletin boards for events that are thrown by campus organizations. For example, the astronomy club may offer a weekly star-gazing night; a gaming club might have a weekly game night where anyone can join; a recreation club might have field trips to the mountains or classes on how to surf; or a Greek organization might throw fundraising events. There are so many ways to get involved there really is no reason why you shouldn't!