As of now, we’re about a month into the new school year. Things are starting to become routine, and this can either be great or detrimental. Sometimes when we get stuck in a cycle, we end up bored and forget to take time out of the day for ourselves. When I was younger, my mom would always say “idle time is the devil’s playground.” By this, she meant that by having more free time, we indulge in activities that might not be worth our while instead of doing things that can help ourselves and others grow. Becoming more involved on campus helps you feel closer to your community and can also help your future success. It may be intimidating joining a new club with a bunch of strangers, but these strangers join RSO’s (registered student organizations) with the same intent as you! To make friends, contribute to campus life and, of course, have fun. When considering what to join, it can be overwhelming. So I’ve decided to make a few suggestions if you’re feeling a little lost.
- Reflect on your Values
This is probably the most important tip that I can give. Think about your future career, what you want to achieve in life and what makes you YOU. This is how you’ll find people who will empower and uplift you in everything, wanting to see you succeed in life. If you want to focus on academics, there are honor societies and major-based organizations that help with school and stepping into the real world after college. If you’re thinking in more general terms, such as if one of your goals is to help others or to feel valued, there’s a lot of mentor/mentee programs to get involved in. One of my friends meets with kids from the middle school once a week just to help out with mental health and sometimes homework. There are so many different organizations that will line up with who you are and what you want to do.
- Community Service
I love this option because you get to give back to others while also making friends. It’s also a great way to meet new people. Community service can consist of anything from gardening to cleaning up on campus to serving at a food drive. There’s such a variety of what each organization does as well. Some might do a lot of different events and others might be more focused on a certain area. It’s never a bad idea though to help others in need when they might not have the tools to do so themselves.
- Join a Fraternity or Sorority
It might be a little tricky finding one that’s perfect for you, but once you do it’s all worth the process. There are SO many things to do in Greek life on campus, but not all of them are what people stereotype them to be! There are social sororities and fraternities, which can be great, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There are also ones that are interest or culture-based, as well as ones in business or education. It can be very hard to find one that fits your ideals and cost ranges since a lot of them require monthly dues and fees. But once you find a place you feel comfortable in, it’s your home for life and you’ll have people you can count on for the rest of your college career and more. (I’ve also written an article previously in the sorority that I was a part of if you want more information on that).
- Create your own RSO
There are over four hundred RSO’s on campus at Illinois State, and they’ve all been created by students themselves! If you don’t find one that fits exactly what you want and you’re really passionate about something specific, you can try to register your own organization on Redbird Life. When I was doing my preview and orientation at Illinois State, my tour guide actually came across someone who created a hammocking club. All they did was find places to set up hammocks and read or do other activities. So much fun! ISU literally lets you create your own destiny and that’s something I love. There’s also a club I know that just eats cereal together like a couple of times a month; who knew?! You can have a chill club or you can go as big as being the founder of a fraternity or sorority on campus. One of my friends did that his freshman and sophomore years. His entire floor in the dorms was really close and they thought, how about we make our own fraternity? Lots of genius ideas can come from this tip.
- Join Her Campus!
I may be a little biased, but I personally think Her Campus is absolutely awesome. This organization is the whole reason why I get to write articles for all of you to read and influence people from all around the country. We also just started having in-person meetings for the first time since I joined last December and I love all the women in our organization. We radiate positivity and have so much fun at all of our meetings. I’m making an impact on other people’s lives, improving my writing skills and helping people better themselves. I honestly didn’t think I would be accepted into this RSO because I didn’t think I was the best at journaling. But I talked to some of my friends and it seemed like something I would be interested in. So I gave it a shot, and here I am! I can’t wait to see where it leads me.
Becoming more involved on campus doesn’t have to be stressful or a hassle. A lot of RSO’s are very understanding of everyone’s schedules and previous time commitments. If you do want to commit more time though, you can always take up leadership positions and show how much you care and appreciate the organization. There are so many paths that you can do down when becoming more involved on campus and I think it’s a great way to show who you are and what you have to offer.