The Freshman Experience: Getting Involved

Need some ideas for getting more involved on campus? We have some suggestions, from intramural sports to volunteer opportunities.

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College student

It feels like FOREVER has passed since my last post. I cannot believe how much has changed!

When I sat down to write my last article, I was anticipating my arrival at Northeastern University. Now, three weeks later, I feel like a totally different person. I know that sounds cheesy, but it is so true! Swiping my ID to get into buildings is second nature. I don’t even think about wearing flip flops in the shower. The trucks beeping in the alley below my window have become white noise. I’m transitioning into college life.

So far, I’ve found that the easiest way to ease the transition between high school and college (or even from one college to another!) is to get involved. One of my favorite things about college (besides the excellent cookies in the dining hall) is the vast array of organizations to join. I strongly believe there is at least one club for every student, whether it’s athletic, academic, community-service oriented, or just fun.

Getting involved is a fabulous way to meet people, discover your interests, foster your talents, and have a great college experience! Below, I’ll detail some of the ways I’ve gotten involved on campus, to hopefully inspire you to do the same.

Athletic Opportunities

Womens soccer team

A great way to stay in shape and get involved is to check out the athletic options at your school. Whether it’s a laid-back co-ed intramural volleyball team or competitive club lacrosse, there is an athletic opportunity for everyone.

Most schools offer a huge selection of intramural sports – some schools even have Quidditch teams! Intramural teams casually play each other about once a week and are lots of fun.

Club sports offer a more serious level of athletic competition. Most schools require tryouts for their club teams, but if you played in high school and thrive on the competitive nature of your sport, club is a great option. Being on a club team is typically expensive, mostly because they travel and compete against surrounding schools. Because of all the practicing and coaching involved in club sports, most teammates end up becoming really close friends.

Finally, there are the varsity sports options. Nine times out of ten a student must be recruited from high school to play on a varsity-level sport in college. However, there are exceptions to this rule! I had always enjoyed the rowing machine at the gym, so when I found out our varsity team allowed walk-ons (no experience necessary!), I immediately signed up for women’s rowing. Now I can say that I am a D1 athlete! Check around and see if your school has any walk-on sports – they’re a great opportunity to be active and involved.

If sports aren’t your thing, don’t worry. Campus recreation facilities often offer an awesome selection of workout classes including yoga, pilates, cardio, zumba, and kickboxing. Signing up is easy and you can guarantee that the people leading the classes know their stuff! In addition, many schools have clubs that take students hiking, skiing, sailing, or rock climbing. Look around and see if any of these appeal to you!

Academic Organizations

College is the time to begin thinking about your resume and future career. A wonderful way to pad your stats and explore your options is to get involved with an academic organization.

For example, the Northeastern University Marketing Association is a popular club for business students. NUMA brings in guest speakers and holds competitions for students to practice their marketing skills. Similarly, Northeastern University TV (NUTV) provides Media Studies majors the opportunity to practice their camera or anchoring talents. Nearly every major or area of study has an academic club for students who want to expand their skills – your campus is likely the same!

Community Service

Charity runners

Because community service is so important to building a strong character, universities have a myriad of ways to get involved in the surrounding community. Mentoring and tutoring opportunities abound, especially in urban environments. Some clubs organize walks and fundraisers for various national organizations. Our school even has a group for architecture students to volunteer and help construct buildings for the community! Being involved in a service organization is an excellent way to do good AND get to know caring people at your school.

Just for Fun!

Finally, we all know that college is a time to have ridiculous amounts of fun. So why not join a club that sparks your interest, whether or not it will be included on a resume? You can imagine my excitement when I found out about Northeastern’s “Haute Fashion”, a club that meets once a week to discuss fashion trends, icons, and designers. Girls with a common love of shopping and clothes gather to gab about their favorite topic – how cool is that?

If your school doesn’t have a fashion club (and you don’t feel like starting one), political organizations, student government, newspapers, and Greek life are also fantastic ways to find people with similar interests. Search around, attend some activities fairs, and do something you enjoy!

More Freshman Year Tips & Tricks

This article is part of our Freshman Experience series. For more, see: 8 Week Countdown, College Orientation, Tips & Tricks for Meeting the Roommate, Dorm Room Shopping Tips, First Semester Goals, College Packing List, 4 Ways to Ease Midterm Stress, College Misconceptions & Ask a Freshman, Freshman Year Questions – Answered, Thanksgiving Break Essentials, Tackling Holiday Shopping in College, First Semester Goals Revisited, and Final Thoughts.

Your Turn!

Now, in the past three weeks, I’ve rushed a sorority (I got a bid from Delta Zeta!), joined the varsity women’s rowing team, applied for a spot in BLUEPRINT, a leadership organization, and checked out Young Americans for Liberty at NU and NUTV. I’ve been crazy busy, but I love it.

Now I want to hear about your involvement! College freshman, what have you found at your schools? Any fun or crazy clubs that you’ve joined? What have you enjoyed? Tell me in a comment.

Veteran girls, what clubs or activities did you join freshman year? Have you stuck with them? What decisions did you make that you would recommend to others? Leave your thoughts below!

12 thoughts on “The Freshman Experience: Getting Involved”

  1. I auditioned for and made the improv comedy team at my school and it was the best decision I have ever made 🙂 I also started writing for the school paper, interviews are slowly getting less and less scary!

  2. My boyfriend goes to Northeastern! The campus is huge and beautiful 🙂 Sounds like you love it, that’s great! Another tip from another Bostonian is to get off campus occasionally and go into the community, whether it’s a big city or a small college town. It’s nice to get away from the “school” environment and be on your own as an independent adult!

  3. Aw, this was a really good post. Spending some time and actual
    effort to creafe a great article… but whnat can I say… I
    hesitate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

  4. Millimi: Oh my gosh. When I read your comment, I had a “d’oh!” moment! I was super involved in the arts during high school and somehow I completely neglected to mention the arts in college! I guess for me they would fall under the “Just For Fun!” category because they don’t apply to my major, but you are absolutely right. The arts definitely deserve their own category!

    Leatra: I am so excited to hear from another DZ! I love the nationwide connections that being in a sorority offers.

    Amy: I can’t get over how much I am enjoying rowing. Waking up on the Charles River is one of the best experiences ever 🙂

    Madison: I loved reading your post – hearing stories like that makes me so excited for the years ahead. Congratulations on your spot in Nationals!

  5. I’m involved with the Honors Society and Habitat for Humanity as well as joining two engineering professional societies – AIChE and SWE. I’m so excited about all four. We do so much in Honors and have so many great opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have access to (research funding, study abroad funding, a dinner in 2 weeks to meet with ALL of the deans, the provost, and the president of the university – unprecedented in a state school of my size). Also, I suggest joining any club with mentoring opportunities. As a freshman, I’ve gotten so much out of my Honors mentor. This weekend, I’m finally meeting with my SWE mentor and I’m sure she has a lot to tell me about engineering at my school.

  6. I love this!! I was extremely involved involved in college, and it really did help me get great internships and meet so many cool people. Even if you’re in a traditional sorority, I highly recommend joining a specialized co-ed one too…I just Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity, and met some of my best friends through it (not to mention, got access to some GREAT test files!)

    Also, look for things that interest you but might not be a part of your major…I’ve always LOVED film (I’m sure you can tell from my CF posts, haha) and joined an organization that brought film premieres to campus and hosted script writing competitions and such–senior year, I got to be chair! It’s SO worth it to put yourself out there and go after positions that you are passionate about.

  7. I absolutely love how American universities have so many things to do. Here where I live,we don’t even have campuses. All colleges are situated in cities. So,when you go to college you have to look for an apartment somewhere in the city you choose to go to college in. There are some dorm rooms available,but there are almost no rules there,so you can’t study from other people playing loud music all day and night and things like that,so I’ve been told. I am still looking forward to college! Can’t wait!

  8. Second to Millimi, but for all arts groups! I joined the Ballroom Dance Team my freshman year at UNC and absolutely loved it! I hadn’t danced since I quit ballet when I was about 10, but the team didn’t require experience, so I joined up. I made great friends (and met a great guy) and learned how to dance a challenging style. I’m a senior now, and president of the team–coming up on my first competition of the season after a successful move to Pre-Champ level last year (8th at Nationals!) The dancing keeps me exercising and is really good for stress relief too.

    I highly recommend trying as many things as you can your first year to really find what you love! (And if you’re school has a Ballroom Team, give it a shot!)

  9. Get Involved! It’s so important!

    I am a very active member of my Honors Community Council and the best co-ed honor fraternity ever Phi Sigma Pi!! I love college and I love GVSU! Any other Lakers on here?

  10. I got crazy involved! I joined the Residence Hall Association, the National Residence Hall Honorary, History Club, Student Senate, Greek Life, and so much more. Being involved has really made my college career amazing.

  11. I took a class dedicated to freshmen in my first semester, which taught us about registering for classes and all we would need to know to succeed at our college. But it also bonded the students because we had several classes together and we were all freshmen coming into this big university, so we stuck together. Its my sophomore year and I am still friends with the people I met in that class.

  12. I’m on the varsity women’s rowing team at my school too! I love this post, it mirrors exactly what I experienced 🙂


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