Coming to college can be a big adjustment. Consider the fact that you don't know where to buy your morning Starbucks, that you no longer see the friends you have been in class with for 13 years, and that you are likely living in a 12' x 12' room with a complete stranger. For a lot of new Carlson students, it can also be a bit scary to mentally "erase" all the amazing activities and awards on the resumes that got them into to college. Coming to college can feel like starting all over again! The good news is that this seemingly distressing time is actually one of those life-changing periods in your life that can shape who you will be for the next four years and beyond.
College campuses are literally a network of amazing students, staff, and faculty with interests as varied as yours. The University Student Union and Activities website (http://sua.umn.edu/groups/) boasts hundreds of student groups ranging from the Active Energy Club to the Zoology Club. The Carlson community also offers student groups focused on various areas of business and coordinated through a college-wide Business Board.
I remember attending the activities fair during Welcome Week and being completely overwhelmed by the quantity of organizations and the variety of their missions. By chance, I spoke with representatives from Women in Business, the organization for which I am now President. As it turns out, engagement with student organizations is really simple. Putting your name on an email list, speaking with one of the officers at recruiting events, or perusing the SUA website to find organizations that fit what you are looking for are some of the easy, and effective ways to get involved on campus.
Many students also forget the amazing opportunities to get involved outside of student organizations. As I mentioned, the University offers access to some of the best minds in the world. Our professors study topics like the eradication of food deserts through local organic food movements, the evolution of wind power, and the history of rock and roll. As a land-grant university, these professors are continually doing research in their fields (yes- even in business!) and are looking for students to help. Working as an Honors Research Assistant or serving as a class TA can expose you to the cutting edge learning happening right here at the University of Minnesota.
Don't think of getting involved on campus as a task or worry that you need to replace that debate team captain line on your resume. Instead, let your interests drive your engagement and find the organizations, research, and volunteer opportunities that fit you! As most college grads will attest to- learning in the classroom is only part of the college experience. The experiences gained outside the lecture halls are often the ones that stick with you (even after that spring final exam)!