One Size Does Not Fit All

24 Jan

One of the most clichéd phrases I have received during my collegiate career was “get involved”. Ever since I took my first campus tour, and I still hear it now as a senior, people engrave into students’ heads that they must get involved on campus. Well, from my experience, this is much easier said than done.

As a first year student, I was not about to discredit this piece of advice, so I immediately got involved with clubs related to my major. My first month of meetings started as expected: I didn’t know a single person but assured myself that eventually these acquaintances will turn into friends. However, as time went on, things did not quite crack up to what I hoped it to be. The club was full of resume seekers that were oddly competitive with each other. People were cold and only there because they had to attend so many events. Later I applied for a student spirit club for freshman, but was not chosen to be in the exclusive spots.

Rejection sucked and I was sad because I wasn’t blending in. Looking around, everyone seemed to enjoy their clubs and kept busy with their new study buddies. I felt that if everyone else could get involved, why had I failed so miserably? Hope was lost because no one told me that getting involved would require so much perseverance.

After that experience, I was ready to give up on the whole “club” thing for good. However, students in my dorm started talking about applying to Sophomore Honorary groups. These organizations are made of diverse students with demonstrate high academic achievement, have their own philanthropy, and pride themselves on their UofA Spirit. The application required me to design a coversheet that represented my personality and unique interests. Later they also wanted an interview. It was very intimidating to feel so vulnerable in this situation, but I put forth my best effort. My hard work finally paid off, as it turned out I made it into both clubs! As a group we went to football games, volunteered on the weekends, and created friendships with different majors and backgrounds.  We came together because of our shared interests, rather than because we HAD to be there.

It was certainly a relief to find a group of students that I felt comfortable around. It took a while to realize that a rough start does not predict a rough ending. My new outlook empowered me to find my niche in not only my clubs, but through classes and work. My advice to you – as cliché it may be – is indeed to get involved. But be aware that involvement is allowed to look unconventional and may not be easy at first. Explore new ideas and interests and don’t be afraid to fail.



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