Why Should You Get Involved on Campus?
BY BETHANY SAWYER
As a first-year student, learning to navigate university can be an exciting, yet understandably stressful time. As an incoming second-year student, I found that one of the ways that my peers and I began to feel more at ease here at UC San Diego, was by developing a sense of community on campus. There are many ways to do so, such as through the many opportunities for intramural sports, or by joining one of the roughly four-hundred fifty-seven student organizations that are on campus. However you decide to get involved, the benefits as well as people who want to welcome you are endless.
During their first year of university, most students are moving away from home for the first time. Moving into a completely new city can absolutely bring up new feelings for incoming students, including loneliness and a sense of not belonging. Getting involved on campus can help to combat these emotions as well as provide students with an easier time getting acclimated to campus, since getting involved exposes students to new people which can help them form friendships with like minded people. They would also gain opportunities to network with upperclassmen, an invaluable resource, who have had more time to explore the endless possibilities available to them. More importantly, they would have the opportunity to learn more about themselves and their interests, as well as the institution they are attending.
While the opportunities for developing a sense of community on campus are plentiful, getting involved specifically with a pre-professional student organization can be most beneficial. These student organizations can help to better prepare students for the professional world post-graduation. UC San Diego is home to many pre-professional organizations, such as the American Chemical Society Student-Affiliates within the Chemistry department. The primary goal of ACS-SA is to provide undergraduates within the department a better sense of how the professional world works, making chemical opportunities more available to their members as well as providing opportunities for undergraduate students to make connections with their peers. The student-run org breaks down the intimidating world of chemistry and combines it with fun activity (which also provides you with an audience to send all of your Chemistry memes).
Another particularly valuable reason for students to look into getting involved on campus is to take a break from their academics. College is a stressful time for everyone, and a big mistake that students make is forgetting that they are a person outside of their academics. Being overly consumed by a drive for scholastic success can cause an uptick of stress within students and lead to burn out. Extracurricular activities provide students with a space where they can take a break from their hard days of studying, and connect with their peers by playing games or bonding over a common interest. While ensuring that your academics are in tip-top shape is still important, it is also valuable to stay mindful of the fact that you are a person outside of school. Not to mention, it is incredibly difficult if not impossible to truly stay on top of your school work if you are not taking care of yourself in the process.
Getting involved on campus can be quite an intimidating experience for incoming first year students. However, one thing that is incredibly important to stay mindful of is that the upperclassmen in charge of running these organizations were in your shoes at one point in time. They are involved in these organizations due to their overwhelmingly positive experiences with their respective organizations. For this reason, they are more than excited to welcome you into the family that they have formed. All it takes is one small step to what is potentially the most positive experience of your undergraduate career.