You’ve done it. You made a stride toward being active on campus and joined that group. Now what? Signing up at University Fest is one thing, but setting yourself on the track to leadership is entirely different. Joining a club can be a blip on your college radar or it can define the time you spend at Binghamton University, so be sure to choose wisely.
1. Don’t over-commit — You may have signed up for a ton of clubs, but that doesn’t mean you need join every one that sends you an email. Going to a bunch of meetings at the beginning is fine, but try to figure out which clubs you really care about and which ones you just go to for the free snacks. If you find yourself dreading meetings and events, it might be time to move on.
2. Be active — Stop sitting around and thinking about how you fit in to the group. Instead, be active. Reach out to the people in your group. Since the other members of the club already share your passions, making friends is so much easier. Maybe you’re hooked on the philanthropy projects, or you’ve just always wanted to learn how to samba, but your interest is only the tip of the iceberg. Unless the club requires no involvement with other people, part of what keeps you coming back is the friends you have made and will make.
3. Remember that friends aren’t made overnight — Don’t put all of your focus on one person, especially the one you just can’t click with. Instead, try nurturing and cultivating relationships with those who reach out to you and who you have fun with. Trying to be friends with everyone can be time-consuming and intimidating. But remember, not all relationships start the same way, and closeness takes time. Some bonds are formed from driving to debate tournaments or going to poetry nights together. In Greek Life, bonds often form between pledge classes or in big/little relationships. These friendships can come from common interests, but also may form because you look good in pictures together. It’s hard not to feel a forced connection in clubs, but let your relationships grow naturally; do what you like, and find the friends that are right for you.
4. Step up once you’ve decided that you’re invested — Don’t be afraid to take on more responsibility in the group. Whether it’s due to your passion for the club or for the friends you’ve made, taking a step, like running for E-board, can help make being in a club even more fulfilling. Plus, it looks good on resumes and will automatically make you a more active participant.
5. Groups can be fun, but try not to forget that there’s life outside your favorite club — Maintain an identity apart from the group as well. Don’t forget about your friends that aren’t in the club and make sure you keep up with your course load. Finding balance is key to making the most out of your experiences.