Freshman year is full of club fairs, rush, and tons of fun activities, but overbooking yourself can be a recipe for disaster. It’s smart to go in with a plan, deciding what “things” are most important to YOU!
Here’s my how-to guide on figuring out how (much)to get involved in your school!
1. Decide what activities mean the most to you. If you were part of choir in high school and want to continue that, great! If you are dead-set on finding your sisters in a sorority, that’s a wonderful place to be. But before you start racking up too many activities, remember to stick to the ones you can absolutely not live without.
Example: In high school, I loved doing service projects and my forensic science class. I also adored theatre and now it’s my major! I am also very involved in my faith. These four things are what helped me decide my extra-curricular commitments.
Step 2. Go to a club fair! Chances are there’s one on your campus. Go check it out and see what groups fit into your list!
Example: I went to “Late Night,” Baylor’s club fair, all the way back in August. I found a TON of clubs I was interested in, and I put my email down for many of them, knowing that some would never contact me and that I would be able to whittle down my options later. I ended up with Women’s Choir, The Baylor Forensic Society, and planning on rushing Kappa Chi Alpha, my Christian social-service sorority! I thought this would be a good balance of everything I wanted, so I went for it!
Step 3. Don’t be afraid to back out. It’s so hard to join clubs so early in the year because at that point, you have no idea how much your work load will be!
Example: I ended up dropping choir and Baylor Forensic Society because I realized how much time my theatre major would take up. I felt bad about it at first, but I realized in the end that it was better for me to have some time to breathe than to keep trying to do everything.
Step 4. Try again next year! Now, I can’t speak for myself, but if you weren’t feeling any of the clubs you tried out, don’t be afraid to try something totally new, especially with some of the new friends you’ve made!
Example: I’m really excited to be trying out an event through my sorority called STOMPFEST, a really exciting step show put on by the historically African-American sorority, Zeta Phi Beta. I just kind of jumped right in with a few friends and we’re mega excited to take part in such an eye-opening experience!
At most college campuses, there are limitless opportunities to get involved! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, but don’t take on more than you can handle!
Myth Busters Time!!!
Myth #1: I can only join a club or group if I know someone who is also joining that group.
Fact #1: This is totally false! You should never decide what you like based on what anyone else likes. If you want to be in band and no one you know is in band, that shouldn’t stop you from meeting new people through something you love. An example from my life is that I really wanted to be part of the homecoming float for the theatre department (pictured), but none of my friends signed up before me! I took a leap of faith and while some of my friends did end up marching in the parade with me, I wasn’t counting on it. And we had so much fun (and even met Baylor’s first female president!)
Myth #2: College is all about academics, so getting involved will only lower my GPA.
Fact #2: I can’t imagine not having something to do. Sure, the main point of college is to earn your degree, but it’s also about finding yourself, and chances are, that won’t happen if all you do is homework. Plus, it’s nice to have a break sometimes! To look forward to an event or meeting for a club that makes you excited is one of the best things! Also, I made a 3.85 GPA first semester so I don’t think getting involved will make your GPA hit rock bottom;)
Myth #3: There are no clubs for people who did athletics/sports in high school, you have to be on the official college team.
Fact #3: That’s one of the great things about college, you can continue to do things you love, even if it isn’t the highest level of commitment! Now, I never played sports in high school, but I always wanted to play basketball, so I joined an intramural basketball team, just to play for fun! Some colleges even have club sports, which are for the more advanced athletes who are okay with a little bit of traveling and commitment. Whatever works for you is probably available at your university!
Peyton Wood, Distinguished Young Woman of Texas 2017