Today I wanted to introduce another segment on my blog about all things college! As a senior, I would like to think I have collected a few nuggets of information/knowledge/advice during my time as an undergrad.
This first installment deals with something that is both awesome and terribly overwhelming in college: extracurricular activities.
Now I will be the first to admit that I have taken the normal route when it comes to finding fun groups to be a part of. These include intramural sports and greek life, the latter of which I plan to write a whole post on (keep your eyes peeled for that!).
However, with the hundreds of different activities offered on a college campus, it’s really easy to overlook ones that could potentially end up being the niche that you fit into during your four (or more/less, whatever tickles your fancy) years.
For me, when I switched from nutrition to mechanical engineering my freshman year, I really didn’t know anyone in my classes. So, when I saw a flyer for a group called the Society of Women in Engineering, I immediately marked my calendar for the next meeting. This group was great because we would have all sorts of people come in and talk to us about all things engineering. Whether that was a professional roller coaster engineer, local companies looking to hire, or even our own university career advisor helping us with our LinkedIn profiles. While I am still part of the group to this day, I begrudgingly admit that I don’t even remember the last time I went to a meeting. HOWEVER, as a freshman this group really helped me to get to know some of the girls in my major which set me up for a solid friend group within my classes.
Another activity that I got involved in just this year is called STEMbassadors. As a part of this group, you go to local elementary/middle schools and run through fun engineering-themed activities with the kids. Now that I have done a few of the outreach trips, I am kicking myself for not becoming a STEMbassador earlier in my college career because it is honestly so fun. Seeing the kids light up when they are working through the activities and seeing the gears in their little brains turning is such an inspiration. If your school offers something similar to this program, I highly recommend joining. Aside from how enjoyable it is, being in this group shows responsibility and leadership, both things employers look for when scouring resumes.
Now, if you’re not an engineering major and the previous two groups don’t apply to you, fear not! One of the best activities that people wouldn’t initially think about are group fitness classes. Now I know these aren’t *technically* extracurriculars, but if you find one you love and go for multiple weeks, chances are you will start to see some familiar faces in the groups. Not only are you making friends and exercising, usually these classes are free to students through your local rec center so you really can’t go wrong with them!
One last suggestion I have is to volunteer in your local community. There are so many great organizations out there that are always looking for an extra set of helping hands. Personally, I applied to be a volunteer at my local animal shelter. I love animals but never had pets other than fish, birds, and hamsters growing up (the struggles of being the only one in your family without allergies). Most shelters will need people to walk the dogs, play with the animals, do office work, or just help with general cleaning. The work is rewarding and again, would look great on a resume. Other organizations include senior centers, soup kitchens, even a Salvation Army or Goodwill. The options are endless!
I hope this has been helpful in assisting you to expand your extracurricular horizons! Good luck with exploring and I hope you find one that you fall in love with.