As a first-year student, you will hear over and over again about the importance of getting involved on campus. For me, this was a lot of pressure. I was just getting adjusted to living on my own (with a randomly assigned roommate) and excelling in college courses. How could I possibly add anything else into my busy schedule? Looking back, I laugh at the thought of me thinking my life was busy at this point…just you wait freshman year self! But in all seriousness, the first year of college is crazy and it can feel stressful to think about how you want to get involved.
With that being said, what I wish someone would have told me then is that getting involved does not necessarily mean joining a billion clubs. Yes, when you go to the Involvement Fair on the Quad you will probably feel pressured into putting your email on at least 20 different pieces of paper, especially if you want free things. But that isn’t necessarily the key to getting involved.
Being a part of the campus comes in a variety of different forms and can take part at different stages of your college career. This how “getting involved” went down for me:
Freshman Year: I chose not to join any clubs or organizations. But despite what some of you may think after reading that sentence, I was still involved on campus. I attended events sponsored by DePaul Activities Board, I participated in group fitness classes at the Ray, and I embraced the activities within the residence hall.
Sophomore Year: I worked in the New Student and Family Engagement program as a Chicago Quarter Mentor (CQM), leading a class of first-year students in discussion about campus resources at DePaul. I also joined Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a co-ed service fraternity that volunteers with organizations throughout Chicago.
Junior Year: I continued working as a CQM, became an Executive Board member of APO, and began tutoring at the University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL).
Senior Year: I am enjoying my third year as a CQM and member of APO and my second year as a tutor at the UCWbL. I also started writing for DeBlogs! Originally, I was hesitant to apply for DeBlogs because of my status as a senior. I felt like I may be joining too late.
But I soon realized that it is never too late to find something you are interested in and getting involved isn’t something only freshmen do. I speak from experience when I say you can always find new ways to get involved at DePaul. Being a member of the campus community is an ongoing process and it is important to keep your eyes open for fresh opportunities!