Every year, the start of the fall semester is plagued by flyers, emails, social media posts, tables and more filled with students promoting organizations and vying for new members.
Oftentimes, these efforts to reel people in are targeted to freshmen, specifically through events like ACU Fest and Join Week.
While these events are not a bad thing by any means, it’s important to make sure freshmen understand one key component to getting involved on campus: Take it slow.
Freshman are coming off the heels of the deadliest pandemic in US history that took away their traditional high school experience. The ability to join something new and interact with others off of a screen is fairly exciting, but with a lack of traditional experience it is easier to get overwhelmed, now even more than before.
Not only are clubs vying for members, freshmen now have the opportunity to rush and pledge a sorority or fraternity of their choosing starting in November.
With multiple options of extra and co-curricular activities on the table, here are a few key points of advice to help those freshmen who may be feeling overwhelmed or are unsure of how to actually ‘take it slow’:
1.Don’t overcommit based on your current class work load.
Oftentimes, your classes will not be difficult right at the beginning. Before you join multiple clubs and plan to rush a sorority or fraternity, be sure your schedule will still have ample free time you can use for studying, socializing and self care. Be sure to keep your priorities straight when stacking your schedule.
2. Don’t stick with one group of people 24/7and don’t rely solely on extracurriculars for friends.
It’s been said a thousand times that freshman year is about creating friendships that last, but the reality is that a solid chunk of those friendships won’t last long past your college career. Almost contradictory to the above advice, don’t just stick with one group. Make friends in your department, make friends in your residence halls, make friends outside of class. Doing this will create multiple different pods of people to hang out with and hopefully will help create a diverse group of people to learn and grow with during your time at college.
3. Don’t feel pressured to join things for your resume.
It may feel important to join organizations as soon as possible in order to boost your resume for internships and future jobs. However, the organizations you joined as a freshman won’t matter more than the internships and experiences you will have during your junior or senior year. Don’t feel pressure to join an organization with a heavy workload just because it is going to look good on a piece of paper; Join that organization when you are ready and able to put in the work to take that next step in your career journey. Besides, after a few semesters exploring your major more you might end up switching career paths!
Overall, it’s important to recognize that each person’s journey is different from the next and no two students from the class of 2026 are going to be the same. However, if comparison is one thief of joy, then an overbooked schedule is the other.