During my first year at Gonzaga University, I did not participate in any clubs, organizations, or intramurals despite the constant catchphrase “get involved!” being ever present. It was plastered on numerous doors, each time encouraging me think about my options and to leave my comfort zone.
Now I am a sophomore, and already I am in three clubs and organizations and looking for more.
Looking back on my freshman experience, I do not necessarily regret not getting involved, but I also would not recommend to incoming freshmen to not join anything. It was hard not getting involved and seeing everyone else adjust to college life so quickly, when I felt I was barely staying afloat.
However, something has obviously changed. Maybe it is my friend group. They are more outgoing and encourage me to try new things which is not something I had the first year here.
When it comes down to it and I get a chance to reflect on what I have learned and who I have become, I am choosing to believe, I am more comfortable on campus now and am ready to find my niche. Last year, I was too overwhelmed and could not handle more than one thing, but we are constantly learning and growing, and I finally feel able to put more on my plate.
There is nothing wrong with not participating right away. Sometimes Gonzaga University made me feel like an outsider because I was not involved, but we should not have to feel that way. We should emphasize getting involved and encourage students to get out of their comfort zone, but sometimes pushing too hard can have a negative impact.
I am glad for what happened my freshmen year, because it made my sophomore year possible. Whatever students decide to do on campus, let them do it at their own pace so they know when they are ready to make that jump.