Earlier this semester, students across the nation most likely flocked their school’s involvement fair and signed up for any club that perked their interests. That’s the easy part. Now comes the challenge: staying involved.
Between websites, directories, and events, colleges and universities make it easy for students to join organizations and clubs as part of their college experience. These services have made it easier than ever for students to learn more about organizations that pertain to their academic, athletic, or social interests.
Students can sign up for club e-mail lists until the cows come home, but let’s face it: the challenge is actually staying involved beyond paying dues and getting a free t-shirt. When you talk to some upperclassmen, you’ll probably hear, “I only went to the first meeting,” or “I get their e-mails, but never went to an event.” Don’t let that happen to you! Here are some pointers to maintain your membership in a club throughout your bustling semester:
Keep a calendar
You already have a planner for your academic work--why not keep one for your extracurricular activities as well? Writing down meetings, events, and deadlines on a calendar, just like you would for classes, is a great way to maintain a consistent schedule and stay involved. If your planner is big enough, combine it with your academic studies so you can delegate your time between homework and studying. To avoid confusion, try color-coordinating by class or assignment type, and applying that same idea to your extracurricular tasks, events, and meetings.
Join with friends
Some students have their own personal motivation to join organizations. For the rest of you, grab a friend! Extracurricular activities are fun, but being involved with an acquaintance or two can be even more enjoyable. If you know someone with a similar interest, join an organization together; and keep each other in tune with updates, meetings, and information. You will remain informed and involved if you have someone else to motivate you, and vice versa. It’s also easier to branch out and meet new people when you have a partner-in-crime to help socialize!
Don’t forget: you’re a student first! Anyone can have an endless list of interests, but that doesn’t mean you should join an organization for every single hobby you have. Take a few steps to research where you want to be involved. Eliminate your choices by not only considering what you love, but how the reputation is for each organization. Your passion may be surfing, but if the surfing club website hasn’t been updated in eight years, then you may want to look into something else. Better yet, take action to re-create a fizzling club or start a new one from scratch. Many schools outline the process of starting a university-recognized organization on their website, so if you want to reach out to students with similar passions, then get up and get going! It would certainly look good on your résumé.
Speaking of your résumé, the best way to stay involved is to dive in head-first to these organizations and take on a position related to your interests. It’s one thing to just be a member, but for a great learning experience, try running for office. Though it’s a major time commitment, it’s a great, hands-on approach to take on a leadership role and try to make positive changes for the club and its participants. If you’re in a club that isn’t related to your field, take on a position or task related to the industry you plan on entering; for example, if you want to be a graphic designer, help out designing t-shirts or updating website graphics. That way, you’re having fun all while pumping up your résumé.