It doesn’t take much time for first year students to realize one thing in particular about being enrolled at Boston College: you have to be involved. It wasn’t something written into the fine print when you submitted your deposit back in May (at least to my knowledge) but it is pretty well understood around here that what you do matters. The question is: how do you know exactly what to do?
The clubs, sports and extracurricular activities you were a part of in high school probably had a lot to do with how you ended up at BC. Shockingly enough, what you do here will also have an affect on what you do post-graduation. It will also impact your social life here at school: who you know, what you do, where you go and what excites you.
Understandably, picking the organizations you want to join in the heat of the first week of classes is a tad overwhelming. Attending all of those informational meetings in Gasson and Stokes probably had you more stressed than any of your classes did. The organizations you join here at BC will take up more time than anything you did in high school, but they will, in return, give infinitely more than you ever received from a group of complete strangers.
To aid you in the process of deciding which organizations to join, here are a few relatively simple steps to follow.
1. Do some research.
BC tries to make it as easy as possible for you to find what ignites you. Check out the MyBC page through Orgsync to see what all of the clubs on campus are about. Every organization has to have a page with general information about the org and who to contact with questions.
Another great way to check out orgs is through social media. Searching on Facebook or following the Twitter accounts for orgs will give you a good idea how active they are on campus and what exactly their day-to-day activities look like.
2. Contact someone.
After you have diligently read about several different organizations, email the people in charge of the ones that interest you most. This cannot be stressed enough: it is not creepy to ask for a meeting. In fact, it’s majorly flattering to get an email from a freshman that has only been here for a few weeks and now is interested in joining your organization. Odds are, whomever you e-mail will be more than happy to sit down and have a cup of coffee with you.
3. Make a list.
Now you’re getting down to decision time. After meeting with some upperclassmen and checking out a few meetings, you will most likely have generated a list of organizations you would be interested in joining. Creating a list is the best way to organize your thoughts and make the best decision. Most of the organizations you have found yourself drawn to can be divided into three categories: the practical org, the org that will enrich you, and the org that excites you.
The practical org is the one that you are interested in because it crosses over with your major, or what you plan to do with your life after graduation. It makes a lot of sense to do and will probably look really great on your resume.
The org that enriches you is the one that makes you a better person: service trips, campus ministry or volunteer work are all things that don’t necessarily apply to anything except your desire to help others (which is pretty awesome). These orgs are very unique to BC and act as a real guide for students as they grow throughout their four years.
The org that excites you is something that is completely unrelated to what you’re studying or what you want to do with your life. Maybe it’s something related to the arts, or a club sport that you’ve never tried. Maybe you’re one the pre-med track and are taking all science and math classes this semester, but you really want to join a political organization for a change of pace. Maybe it's the people involved or the mission of the org. It might even be something that absolutely terrifies you. But it's still on this list, so there must be a reason.
The key to a good experience with your extracurriculars is not to over extend yourself. It is much easier to add things later on than to quit things because school work is faltering or your personal life is taking a hit. These orgs aren't going anywhere and they will welcome you when you are ready to be fully present.
Ultimately, the decision on what you will spend your time doing is completely up to you. Your org will take up portions of your time that you could, and at times will want, to spend doing other things. Choose the activity (or activities) that you will be most willing to commit to: the org that you're willing to trudge through the snow for in order to attend meetings, or the one for which you are willing to do the grunt work. Doing so will most definitely change your BC experience for the better.