“What else is there to do here?” This is often a question on the minds of college-bound students when they visit a college campus. Our advice — Don’t hesitate to ask about extracurricular activities. Ask questions during the information session and also ask the students you meet on campus if they’re involved in any student clubs or organizations.
For Adam Britten, a senior at Syracuse University, and recent co-host of SmartCollegeVisit’s CampusChat, being involved in extracurricular activities has been an asset to his college career in more ways than one. He shares his advice on getting involved in the guest post below.
No Day but Today…
With so many opportunities for involvement, many college students have no clue where to start. The benefits of extracurricular activities are very apparent: you can make lots of new friends, expand your learning outside of the classroom and advance your career potential and hirability. (Well, Ultimate Frisbee might not get you a job…but you never know!) The most important thing to know is that you should be getting involved with SOMETHING while you are in college.
The best time to get involved is at the beginning of each semester. Very freqeuntly, schools will have “student involvement fairs” where you can get information about different clubs. Even if there isn’t an official event, most clubs actively look for new members and hold interest meetings at the beginning of the year or semester.
As for myself, I got involved from day one of college. It wasn’t a stretch for me, as I was involved in a few activities in high school. The first clubs I joined paralleled my high school clubs. I joined student government and I signed my name up on a list of people interested in student theatre. (Even if you are remotely intersted in an activity, sign up for their emails – you’ll get all the information you need and be able to ask any qusetions you have.)
I am so thankful that I started my involvement early. Throughout school, I have grown very close to some people that I met within the first few months of school while I was participating in these activities. As the years went on, I joined a few new clubs (and realized that some of the ones I joined weren’t my style.) I’m still involved in that same theatre group, and all because I gave them my email address. I couldn’t imagine being at school without the friends I have made in First Year Players.
This goes along with the saying “birds of a feather flock together.” If you join a club that you are interested in, you’ll almost definitely meet people that you get along with who share the same interest. Perhaps student theatre isn’t your thing; that’s cool. So what is “your thing?” Chances are your school has a club entirely dedicated to your intersest, whatever it is. Larger schools have hundreds of clubs including sports teams, religious groups, political groups and anything else you can think of. If you can’t find a club you like, start your own! If you can prove that there are enough interested people, most schools will allow you to form any organization you want. (So you could start a Twilight fan club if you wanted…although I probably wouldn’t join.)
You’ll Never Look Back
Once you finally decide to get involved, you’ll never look back. Extracurricular activites enhance your time in college in so many ways. Not only will you meet a lot of great people, but you’ll gain experience that employers will look at favorably. It’s one thing if you take a class on journalism, for example, but it’s an even better thing if you write a weekly column for your school’s newspaper.When all is said and done, college is perhaps the easiest time to immerse yourself in activities that you love. There aren’t many other times in your life that you’ll have the opportunity to be involved in an acapella group, a club soccer team, a knitting club and/or a breakdancing team, perhaps all at the same time. Don’t waste any more time; get involved now!
Side note: I’m always interested in hearing about crazy student organizations. I once heard about an “Oreo Appreciation Club” at a college. What’s the strangest club at your school?
Adam Britten is a senior at Syracuse University majoring in Marketing Management. He is involved in several organizations including a a student magazine, a co-ed professional fraternity and many more. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBritten.