By Clare McGreevy
Moving away from home and beginning a new life at the College can seem like one of the loneliest and most uncomfortable times in a person’s life. For most, the transition into college life is an exhilarating step into adulthood, but many new students still experience feelings of confusion and distress that can sometimes be overwhelming.
One of the most important things for freshmen to remember is that all upperclassmen were once in their shoes, entering a brand new community that they had little to no experience with.
I would love to say that this passes quickly and everything falls right into place for everyone right away, but that wouldn’t be true. Many freshmen struggle to truly feel comfortable at college for a while, and the reason is often failure to get involved with groups, activities and organizations during their freshman year.
As overwhelming as entering college is, it can be very easy to adopt a passive mindset for the first semester. Personally, my biggest regret is deciding not to get a job or join any clubs upon moving into the College. I thought that I needed to take time to adjust to school before I involved myself in on-campus activities, but I soon realized I was wrong.
As a high school student, I was involved in sports, clubs and various other extracurricular activities, and I took for granted how many friendships and connections I made through these organizations.
Making friends and meeting new people is the biggest advantage of being involved. While it is true that many freshmen make great friends just through spending time with their neighbors or classmates, it can be very difficult for new students to find the right crowd without putting themselves out there and pursuing their interests by joining clubs and organizations. There are so many different types of people in college, but becoming involved in groups and activities that align with your specific interests makes finding the right people possible.
Another advantage of getting involved on campus is the role that involvement plays in time management. For many, their new college workload far exceeds the level of academic rigor required in high school courses, but no one is really spending all of their free time doing schoolwork. Focusing only on academics becomes boring. On-campus activities make for a busier schedule in a good way — participating in an organization or club fills in the gaps and provides more structure in scheduling.
As daunting as beginning a whole new life in college seems, it is important that new students don’t give into the nervous impulse to shy away from getting involved. Exploring the many extracurricular activities that the College provides is an essential part of growing comfortable with the campus and community. Until you put yourself out there and get involved, you can’t fully experience all that your college years have to offer.
Students share opinions around campus
"Should freshmen get involved in campus activities?"
"It's definitely important to put yourself out there. It's the best way to have a good time."
"Definitely - it's really important to try new things."