Involvement- Where to begin?

Involvement is a sneaky word your professors and family like to sneak in their conversation at any moment, ready to strike and remind you of the frustrating fact that you can't seem to find anything to become involved in. In fact, being involved in campus is one of the reasons I transferred here to the U. My previous college just didn't have enough opportunities for me to really grow as a person and to learn about the world. So I decided to super-size my college and the results were great! But I also learned you can't just expect opportunity to find you. It can take a little digging at first.

So, you arrive on campus for the first time as a transfer student. You may be very familiar with the campus, or you may get lost on your way to the bathroom (I had to remind myself it was the third door on the left, not the second). You've got a new room, new friends, new classes, and eventually all the new things will become familiar as you settle in to life on campus. But as the familiarity settles in, you realize you've got to find something to fill that awkwardly empty resumé of yours. But where to begin?

Before I give any other advice I need to begin with this: "GO ANYWAY." My friend posted this quote in big, bright letters on her wall, and I have always chanted this to myself when I am faced with attending a particularly boring or uninteresting event. Life, particularly life at the U, is full of surprises, and you never know if that meeting with the "Spectators of Paint Drying" club could end up being an exciting and fun experience. Ok. So I exaggerated a bit, but hopefully you catch my drift.

But back to my earlier question: where to begin? Well, there are two very simple ways to learn the know-how here on campus: the Internet, and flyers around campus. I'd say starting with both is a great way to get going on finding an organization to become involved with. Try visiting the Student Unions and Activities website (http://www.sua.umn.edu/groups/) for an impressively long list of all the student-led organizations here on campus. You can even search by category to speed up your search, or just browse through the list and find the more eccentric clubs such as the breakdancing club or "Knitting for Peace". My advice? Make a list of the ones that interest you the most and attend the first meeting. First meetings are always very low-pressure and if you're not interested you won't feel obliged to become a member.

Also don't forget to check out flyers. I usually do this when I'm waiting for my class to begin, or if I'm walking around campus on a day off. Those colorful pieces of paper aren't just for show! I've found these flyers to be incredibly useful in finding out about events on campus.

So other than the Internet and checking out flyers on campus, I really recommend asking around. Ask your new friends if they've found any interesting organizations to check out, or ask your professors for help. The connections you build on campus are a great resource for getting involved. You never know when polite conversation with a stranger can turn into a great discovery about something happening on campus.

Most importantly, have patience. The U is a great university with so many opportunities, but you might not find the perfect organization on your first try. Keep putting yourself out there, and your efforts will eventually pay off. I am happy to say that I've become very involved here on campus, and am no longer afraid of the idea of getting involved. There are so many exciting opportunities here on campus...so what are you waiting for?!

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