College Freshmen: how to get involved on campus
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For many people, starting college is the first time you have been away from the comforts of home. Probably one of the biggest challenges students have is adjusting; which is often facilitated by finding friends with common interests.
Many people hold back from joining clubs or organizations at first, because they are worried about the time commitment, and the subsequent effect it might have on their grades. These same people often find themselves friendless and miserable, and many of them may actually leave the school. 1 in 4 people drop out of college during their freshman year. Don’t let that be you.
The reasons why people join organizations are many, probably the most important being that employers look for people who are active and involved, because this generally implies social skills and a well-rounded personality. Joining a career-related society might expose you to speakers and other opportunities that can help you understand the career that you are targeting with your degree. Sports and social dance clubs can keep you in shape and help you bond with a team. Exercise can lead to improved attributes such as increased brain function, nourishment, concentration levels, and self-esteem Cocke, 2002) (Tremblay, Inman, & Willms, 2000). Greek organizations can provide a comprehensive package for many students; including community service, athletics, and social life. Publishing for the school newspaper can get you started in your journalism career. Intramural sports are often a good way to get to know those in your dorm hall, your program, or just others’ sharing your interest in floor hockey or ballroom dancing. All of these organizations should help you make friends.
My best advice is to try out a number of extracurricular activities to see which you have time for and would provide the greatest benefit; even if you don’t know a soul. What can it hurt? Besides, first-time meetings almost always have free food. If you get too busy with school, you can always miss activities; everyone else in the club is in the same predicament and if they care about their grades, will understand. And of course, if you don’t like the organization you can always try others’.
About the author: Melissa has a B.S. from Michigan Technological University and 2 graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
Cocke, A. (2002). Brain May Also Pump up from Workout. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting.
Tremblay, M. S., Inman, J. W., & Willms, J. D. (2000). The Relationship Between Physical Activity, Self-Esteem, and Academic Achievement in 12-Year-Old Children. Pediatric Exercise Science, 12, 312-324.
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