To be involved means to be in the act or process of taking part in something. It may seem like a burden to take on additional activities besides academics, but even though involvement might seem like a big commitment, I promise that the benefits far outweigh any of your fears.
One benefit of getting involved in student life is making friends! Starting college isn't easy and sometimes it can be hard to meet people, but joining clubs or other organizations can make it easier to find friends with similar interests. Even better, extracurricular activities are a great way to create connections that may benefit you in post-grad life — forever friendships, career connections, you name it. As you become more involved, you may also want to take on more significant roles and apply for leadership positions. Doing this is the first step in preparing for future job opportunities by advancing leadership skills such as how to work with and motivate your peers.
Another advantage of on-campus involvement includes finding ways to relieve stress. Being involved can be a break from schoolwork and give you a chance to foster a sense of belonging by expanding your circle of friends. On top of that, being involved can help you discover new interests or take part in hobbies that you're not used to doing every day.
Now you may be asking… where do I start? How do I get involved?
To begin, I’d recommend strolling through the center of campus, Turlington Plaza, where numerous student organizations and clubs advertise their purpose and look for new members. If you don’t see a group that piques your interest there, try the Plaza of the Americas. If in-person recruitment isn’t really your thing, don’t worry, there are various online alternatives to help begin your involvement journey. My go to is always Instagram! Most clubs have pages where they update their major events with fun stories and posts. To find even more clubs, you can use the UF GatorConnect website to find student organizations that cater to your interests. Through this program, you’re able to take a quiz that matches you to organizations that you might just end up loving!
Here is where we reach the hard part. Where should I get involved? How many student organizations should I join?
Fortunately, there are so many right answers to this question! Everyone’s involvement journey is different. Personally, the biggest lesson I learned was to not spread yourself too thin. When getting involved, instead of picking a large number of organizations to be a part of, pick a few that you truly care about and really invest in them. From there, you can work your way up to leadership positions. As a general guide, I recommend being involved in 2 to 3 student organizations— one club related to your major, one suited to your personal passions, and one dedicated to community service. For me, those three clubs in addition to my schoolwork keep me busy.
Another great way to get involved in campus is through Dance Marathon! Not only has Dance Marathon helped me meet hundreds of amazing people from around campus, it has helped me strengthen the bonds I have within my chapter. It is very special to me that my chapter family is all involved in Dance Marathon and are there to support each other while supporting such an amazing cause.
The best part about attending the University of Florida is all the different options it has for students to get involved and try something new. I hope this has inspired you to find an organization that you love and feel like you belong in. You've got this!
With love, an Alpha Epsilon Phi Sister