We’ve been back in school for a few weeks now, and most of us have had sufficient time to fall into a comfortable routine of classes, socializing, studying and downtime. Lucky students may be discovering the amount of downtime they have this semester is considerable, or at least more than they expected to have. So, what is the best way to put that time to good use?
If you’re looking for an outlet that’s both fun and a potential resume booster, extracurricular activities are obviously a great option. Few people realize that now is actually the ideal time for a person to get involved, for several reasons.
Though it may seem awkward to consider walking into a room full of strangers who’ve already had an entire semester to get to know one another, there’s a compelling argument to be made that you should, in fact, do just that.
Most people only tend to give much thought to what clubs and organizations they’d like to be a part of at the beginning of the year. School sponsored events such as Gobblerfest facilitate getting involved early on, and it’s comforting to know there will likely be other new members who are equally as uncertain as you at your first meeting.
While it’s great to try a new activity at any time in the year, you may find that you have a better overall experience if you become involved later in the year.
For one thing, it can be a really good thing to be the only new person to show up to a meeting.
This may seem more intimidating than blending in with a crowd of prospective members, but it actually improves your chances of forming relationships with active club members.
At the beginning of the year, when swarms of prospective new members turn out to the first meeting, you’re much more likely to get lost in the shuffle.
Club leadership and active members also expect many of the new members to drop out after a week or two, once they realize they have too much homework or they make friends elsewhere, so they aren’t as likely to try to court you and make the effort to get you to stay.
If you show up now, they will be so excited to see a new face at one of their meetings that they will go to great lengths to get you to keep coming back.
They’ll want your input on what direction the club should take this semester. They’ll want your opinion on what kind of activities you’d like to take part in. They may even want to take you out to lunch. You’ll have much better opportunities to get to know people and form lasting friendships.
If you’re nervous about going alone, bring a friend with you — the active club members will love you even more if they think you’ll be able to get more people interested in their organization.