Alright, we still have a few days left of September (I know, I know. I don’t want it to end either.) and that means there’s still plenty of time to pave the way for a great year. Now, I hear you wondering, “How do I do this, Fraser?” Well, little voice in my head, it’s simple: participation.
Why should you get out and participate? Good question. By joining a club, society, team or class, you’re not only making social connections with the other members, but also gaining valuable experience that could lead to a job or help get you into graduate school. The key here is your co-curricular record (CCR). The CCR is a document of your various activities and achievements outside your post-secondary classes. It demonstrates to potential employers and future schools that you’ve done more than just buried your head in books.
The whole act of “participating” at school is a great deal more complex than it first appears. Before you go out and sign up for every club, you first have to ask yourself a few questions and analyze a few things. I suggest drawing up pie charts and making extensive lists on what follows (Note: No pie charts or lists are necessary to follow the advice of this blog).
Let’s first look at you as a whole. What interests you? Are you a creative person? Maybe you like politics. Maybe you need some way to get active in between classes. No matter what you’re into, I can pretty much guarantee that there is some club/organization/team/extracurricular class for you!
If you’re a creative person, then some form of art club—be it a photography club, a film society or even a dance class—is probably a good fit for you. Don’t join the Aeronautics Society just because you think it will look good on your CCR. What do you know about rocket fuel? If you answered “They use it to fly rockets” or anything along those lines, then we clearly have a poor fit. Then again, you may be genuinely interested in learning about rockets—in which case, definitely check the group out. It’s always good to step outside your comfort zone. But before you do anything else, heed my next suggestion.
Examine your schedule. On top of your classes and readings, you may have work and you’ll more than likely want to maintain some sort of social life off campus. This may not always leave you with a great deal of room to fit a large number of extracurriculars. Before you volunteer as treasurer of every group you join, first ask yourself: do I have time for this? Especially if this is your first year, my best advice is to lay low for a bit. Pretty contradictory, right? Maybe a little, but this way, you’ll stay sane. Try to find groups that won’t require a major commitment right off the bat. Go to a few meetings until you sure that you’ve made the right choice. Then you can run for the presidency, you go-getter, you!
My final piece of advice would be to try to join at least one group related to your major. For example, yours truly readily signed up to write for the student-run newspaper. Not only do I get to work with a great group of people, but I’m also turning a few of my passions—pop culture (I’ve written for the Arts section so far) and writing—into real experience that I can take to the bank. I now have something physical to show for my participation: newspaper clippings for a future portfolio. (The position may or may not also get me press passes into concerts/shows every once in a while…) I know that not every major will have a compatible society or club, but many of them do (and I hear yours has some pretty crazy parties. Just saying).
Anyway, I have about 20 pages of notes on cod (the fish, not the video game) to type up. I may be exaggerating, but I still wrote way too much about fish this morning…
To find out what else the voices in my head are saying, follow me here!