When you’re first exposed to a college campus, there’s a few phrases that all the mentors/tour guides/advisors repeat so often that it makes you want to scream. One of those is the inevitable spiel about how fantastic “getting involved in campus” can be. I certainly spent the vast majority of my first few months at college rolling my eyes at said spiel.
How did they expect me to join clubs when I was already struggling with managing my time between homesickness and homework? There are some people who are designed for jumping right into “the college experience,” but I was not one of them. College was an enormous change for me for a long list of reasons, and in the very beginning I couldn’t find the energy to do much other than sit around re-watching my favorite television show from beginning to end (shout out to my girlfriend for putting up with me during those mopey months).
I am still not the type of person who is extremely active socially – I’m an introvert at heart. But I will say, and what I would advise to any other college students who are rolling their eyes at the get involved spiel is this: it is the beginning of my sophomore year, I am actively involved in two campus programs, and have seen an enormous positive change within myself partially as a result of this involvement.
Due to both the nature of the programs and to the social environment of them, I am more aware. I am more aware of injustices, aware of privileges, aware of exclusive language, aware of my community’s values, aware of support, aware of resources, and aware of myself.
It is extremely important to me that I take the time to make this post, not only because it contains advice I hope others will follow, but because I am so thankful to be a part of the programs I am. I am grateful to have found a group of people with which I feel safe when vulnerable and with which I feel challenged intellectually. Thankful that said programs are facilitated by amazing, genuine people, not just faceless advisors I’ve only communicated with via email. I am thankful in a multitude of ways – and it’s only September – and every college student deserves to have that same feeling that I’ve been having for the past couple weeks.