New school year, new experiences to boost your student advantage

New opportunities“There’s a whole world out there” is probably something you’ve heard people say. And it’s so true. Maybe you spent the first half of the school year playing it safe, getting to know the school and adjusting to dorm life. But college campuses and nearby towns have hundreds of activities and things to do to expand your learning resources and promote student success. Read on to discover how you can find out what’s going on around your campus this semester!

What’s available?

The bigger the college or university, the more choices; but the possibilities are virtually limitless. If your school offers one, attend the activities fair, which highlights all the clubs and groups on campus. Nearly every subject, sport, hobby and future career can be offered as a campus club where students can gather to share a common interest — math club, ski club, Christian ministry, knitting club, honor society, nursing club, student government, glee club, French club, campus ecology.

Where do I start?

Just think about what you like to do. Are you athletic? Then sign up for a sport. Are you studious? Start a study group or visit a museum with friends. Do you like to eat (and cook!)? Join a cooking club or do a restaurant tour of your local town. Do you like to write? Join the staff of the school newspaper or get a job with the school administration writing advertising copy.

According to Tawan Perry in “The Costliest Mistakes of College Students,” August 27, 2012, in “General meetings of student organizations tend to be open to anyone. If you’re thinking about joining a specific group, find out when they hold meetings and drop in. This will give you an idea of what kind of activities, group discussions, community services efforts the club has to offer. Be sure to sign up for any electronic newsletter or email updates about the events that are taking place during the school year.”

Close your eyes and jump in

Or try something completely new. College is the perfect time to expand your horizons; try a little of everything to learn what you like and what you’re good at. If you’re a sports jock, try a cooking class. You might release your hidden chef. If you’re an avid book club member, try hosting a show on the campus radio station. Maybe you’re a secret music aficionado. The saying is, “You never know until you try it.”

Other cool and free things to do

  • Audit a class in a subject you might not know much about.
  • Tutor a classmate.
  • Try an online class.
  • Volunteer at a local shelter or food kitchen.
  • Go on a nature walk, and explore the flora and fauna of your college town.
  • Visit an art gallery.
  • Become an RA or class leader.

Benefits of participating in campus activities

MaristCollege’s “Campus Activities & Organizations” web page offers some benefits:

  • Meet new people
  • Develop your leadership skills
  • Make a difference on and off campus
  • Network and build your resume
  • Have fun!

Participating in new experiences also helps build character and responsibility, encourages personal growth, exposes you to diverse cultures and ways of doing things, adds to academic enrichment, introduces you to culture and the arts and increases work experience.

According to Amy W. Tenhouse in “College Extracurricular Activities – Impact on Students, Types of Extracurricular Activities,” “Extracurricular activities provide a setting to become involved and to interact with other students, thus leading to increased learning and enhanced development. Specifically, a student’s peer group is the most important source of influence on a student’s academic and personal development.”

What all this will not do

Thomas Frank in warns that too much activity will not be the perfect recipe for a successful career. Too much stress, not enough time to study, spreading yourself too thin, loss of relaxation or reflection time, lack of enjoyment of any one thing and alienation from friends are all things to consider if you find yourself engaging in too many activities.

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