How You Can Get Involved With Western’s Art Community and Not Be Scared to Do So

In high school, I never participated in any clubs or teams. Quite frankly, I was insecure about my place in the social hierarchy and even more insecure about my passions. I was quiet, shy, and couldn’t even fathom being a face on student council, never mind the responsibilities that came with it. Essentially, I was never the person to put myself out there and participate. But somehow when I came to Western, I joined Western’s art community without a second thought.

Participating in Western’s art community is great for a lot of reasons: you can make so many friends with the same interests as you, you can meet study buddies that will come in clutch when you sleep in and miss lecture, you can connect with local artists and network, you can load up your resume by being a part of creative initiatives - the list goes on and on. But most importantly, you’ll make your post-secondary experience that much more worthwhile.

There’s no specific way to join Western’s art community. You don’t sign up and get a badge that says “I’m Involved In UWO Arts.” There are so many ways you can get involved - here are just a few:

1. Orientation week is where it all starts

I never liked camp and O-Week is very campy. It may be intimidating but somehow, even I got past my awkwardness and met people who ended up being my best friends. I don’t want to act like participating in O-Week is some sort of heroic feat. Everyone is in the same boat as you during the first week of university, so people are welcoming. Everyone wears their lanyards around their neck at some point. Don’t be scared to sing a cheer with people whose names you don’t know yet or rep your res and fac shirts. If there’s a time and place in university that lacks judgement, it’s orientation week!

2. Make sure you go to Faculty Day

If you’re actually in an Arts and Humanities program, Faculty Day is also a fantastic opportunity to bond with people in your program. It’s important to actually wake up and participate in Fac Day, even if only to learn how to navigate the Arts and Humanities building. Here you’ll learn about all the great A&H opportunities and how to get involved in things like A&H Student Council, Pubs, Sophing etc. You’ll also meet some of the best profs, which will hype you up and make your first lecture a little less daunting.

3. Speaking of lecture, go to class!

I know, I know, no one wants to be lectured about Shelley at 8:30 AM but I swear to you, it pays off. The friends you make in these classes will be with you for four years (at least)! You’ll want similar minded friends especially when exam season comes around. Those class friends are also great for a study sesh or to get notes off of when you miss class. And who knows, maybe you’ll get a buddy to go to A&H events.

4. Facebook: your hot spot for all things art

Probably the best (and most practical) way to get involved with Western’s art community is through Facebook. Especially if you’re not in A&H but you’re interested in Western’s art scene, Facebook is your greatest resource. Facebook contains all the events going on inside and outside of campus. Join a bunch of groups - join your program’s group and join your year’s group. Groups are a haven for editorial, executive and volunteer positions that can get you entwined in the arts, from the Arts and Humanities Student Council’s page to other student-run publications, like The Gazette, Iconoclast, Openwide, Film Society, Music, and obviously Her Campus (who doesn’t love some shameless self-promo). My own resume is chock full of executive and editorial positions I got from browsing Facebook late at night. Facebook is your holy grail for getting experienced and published in the Western arts.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from actually putting myself out there and joining Western’s art community is not to be scared to do so. Western’s art community may be small but it’s full of welcoming people who want Western to foster a creative space. So, don’t be scared to dive into UWO arts head first and attend events that sound cool to you. Even if you go alone, there are people at these events who want you to enjoy what they’ve worked so hard to create.

All in all, whether you want to make friends, get experience, or just find some hobbies, getting involved in Western’s art community is so worth it. Western is full of great opportunities that will help you in the long run. Remember: we’re all in the same boat. You get what you put into it, so why not try your best?

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