Getting Involved During Your First Year at Brown

Every college seems to boast about how many student groups they have. From cultural groups to academic and sports teams, and even unique things like the “pirate acapella group,” the ways to get involved are abundant. When I first arrived on campus, I realized that I had a lot more free time than I was used to. This inspired me to find a few clubs that interested me and encouraged me to invest my time in. After some trial and error, I was able to find a few groups that I really enjoy participating in! Here’s a few tips for getting involved with on-campus activities.

1. Think about what you liked in high school

I came into Brown unsure whether I wanted to continue with something that had dominated by highschool life and that I did not always have a positive impression of: debate. I ended up giving it a chance, and I am so grateful that I did. I love the people on the team, the activity itself, and the ability to travel to tournaments on the weekends. Don’t be afraid of continuing things that you enjoyed in high school; chances are that they are structurally different and also include a new group of people to get to know, within a context that is more familiar and comfortable than something completely foreign. 

2. Try something you have always wanted to do!

Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a hiker, or maybe you’ve dreamed of being able to join a novel writing group. If there is something that you have been wanting to explore but maybe never got the chance to in the past due to lack of time or resources, now is the time to go for it! Search the club list, go to activities fairs, and if you can’t find the thing you’ve been really hoping to get started, you can create it yourself! You can begin the process to develop a new club for the university. Look to get involved in something that has always been a dream of yours: there’s nothing stopping you! 

3. Don’t be afraid to try something random and new 

There are flyers posted everywhere on campus. Stop for a second and read them, as they might be advertising something that could become your next passion! Let yourself do something that will surprise your parents when you tell them about it on the phone, or at the Thanksgiving table when you see them again. 

4. Don’t join everything at once! 

Something important for your first year in college is not overextending yourself before you can settle down socially and figure out your academic schedule. Be calm and practical when joining activities. Maybe start off with one higher commitment club combined with a few other lower commitment ones. These activities are meant to be fun, so make sure that your extracurriculars don’t become things that are more stressful than enjoyable. 

5. Life still exists (and flourishes) off-campus 

If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for on-campus, don’t take it as a roadblock. Instead, feel free to look into off-campus opportunities. Providence is full of quirks and there are tons of opportunities to get involved! This may not be as easy as expected, however. Transportation can be a problem, especially when it gets too cold to walk far off-campus. A solution is the RIPTA, which Brown students can ride for free, so getting into Providence should not be a financial burden if you’re willing to figure out public transportation!

6. It’s okay to quit!

If a club that you join is not what you expected it to be and it isn’t making you happy, just drop it! You don’t need to continue anything that you aren't passionate about, and if an activity is boring or overwhelming to you, don’t keep it in your life. There are plenty of other opportunities to get involved with enjoyable and stimulating activities!

Happy Club hunting!