After getting settled into the dorms and finally memorizing routes to class, figuring out what clubs to join is likely to be the next step for most college freshmen. While some of us have continued past hobbies into college, others can be overwhelmed with the number of fliers on every square inch of the campus and dates on our calendar for upcoming interest meetings.
During my own process of trying to figure out what clubs and organizations to join, I’ve considered these questions to help me figure out how to go about it:
What am I good at?
This question may seem pretty simple, but every time I think about what I like to do in my free time, I just can’t think of anything spectacular. I like to read and write, but how does that set me apart from everyone else? A lot of us often think that we have to be this multi- talented scholar when in reality the skills we have right now are good enough. Look at what hobbies you enjoy and identify the roles within different organizations that can utilize those skills. Everyone has to start somewhere and the only way to get opportunities to improve your skills is to step out of your comfort zone and find them.
What are my passions?
Sometimes your skills and passions don’t always line up. And that’s okay. Every college student needs something to get away from academic demands. However, you have to be cognizant of whether or not this passion is something you’d be willing to dedicate a good amount of your time—and most likely money—to. Don’t join organizations just because of their clout or because everyone else is looking into the same ones. Most organizations will be competitive in their selection process. You don’t want to get caught up in the idea of being involved in something once you’re already committed. Consider volunteering for an event on campus or in the surrounding community to find what you truly enjoy giving your time and energy to.
What’s something I haven’t done before?
The amazing thing about college is that it’s the perfect opportunity for a fresh start and with that comes the freedom to try any and everything. The worst thing that could happen is that the activity isn’t for you, but the best thing is that you have the freedom to move on and find what is. Unless the organizations you’re looking at only take freshmen, for example, you have the rest of your time in college to find a way to get involved. If anything, make sure that you stay on their radar in a positive way.
From all of this, learning to be intentional with how I spend my time is something that I think will make my college experience more enjoyable and will help me later in my career. Instead of getting frustrated at the fact that I may not be able to do as much as I’d like, I can spend more time improving my skills to better serve the organizations I’m already committed to. Keeping my schedule flexible enough to where I can stay on top of school work, spend time with friends, and still be involved on campus has been more beneficial, and still gives me the option of being able to take mental breaks when I need them.
Student organizations in college aren’t just fun after-school programs that people do solely to boost their resumes. Many of them have detailed application processes and hold weight as representatives of your college or university for national organizations. For most of us, piling on extracurricular activities that take up all of your time isn’t going to work as well in college. Well, maybe, if you have amazing time management skills.