Doing it for Fun
Students often feel a need to take part in student organizations that look good on resumes, but in the end, joining a student organization is about making the University feel like home. One of my favorite student organizations that I am involved with is a service organization that my friends and I decided to join together freshman year. Ever since then it has been a place for me to meet up with them and also help the community. I also know of other fun clubs like a League of Legends club or Waffle Club. Just remember that it’s okay to join a student organization if it doesn’t line up with your major or career goals.
Something old, Something new, Hawkeye gold, something for you!
Coming to college I was very amazed at all of the opportunities for involvement! It can be very tempting to try a bunch of new clubs and organizations. I will never forget when a mentor on campus asked me what I liked to do in high school. My answers of playing tennis and marching band really shocked her because on campus I was involved with student government and volunteer work at the hospital. Since having that conversation I make sure to set aside time for the things that I love and enjoy from my past. While at Iowa I encourage you to try new things, but also to find time for the hobbies you already have!
Finding Your Spot in the Hawks Nest
This is not about to be a preachy blog post telling you to get involved like your high school teachers would always do. I just want to express how getting involved made my college experience better. Coming to Iowa from a Chicago suburb I did not bring any friends with me (trust me I know there are many Chicago suburbians here now), but when I showed up I did not believe that was the case. I quickly decided to take a step out of my comfort zone and join Fraternity and Sorority Life. Through my fraternity, I had the opportunity to not only network with dozens of guys like myself but they enabled me to get involved in the community around us with service hours, homecoming, and intramural sports. There are so many ways to contribute to the Hawkeye community; go out and find your niche. There is something for everyone, and in the rare case that you cannot find the student organization that’s right for you, start one up!
Using Student Organizations as Networking Opportunities
Whether you are majoring in Mechanical Engineering, Art, or anything in between, your career path is likely to have a club with members of the same major. When I first came to campus, I, the absently-minded newbie, accepted email invitations to connect with other students affiliated with my majors (Informatics and Biology). Little did I know about the benefits I would receive from attending meetings and getting to know other members! I soon found myself getting to know faculty and upperclassmen, which made me feel more comfortable seeking out help when I needed it. This has come in handy around midterms, when Redbull is plentiful and emotions are everywhere. From this, I have met the friends that I can text at one in the morning to rant about Programming for Informatics.
In addition, these organizations often have opportunities for you to learn career skills for your major and meet alumni in the career. One alum I met through WICS (Women in Computer Science and Informatics) once hosted our entire organization (with pizza!!! ) to her penthouse for a meet and greet to talk about her experiences as an entrepreneur and a woman in STEM.
Since joining organizations related to my major, I have found more interest in my classes because I am able to see how introductory topics lead to my career. Topics, such as natural science classes, suddenly had chemistry with me.
Crappy Sandwiches and Loneliness
I moved in a couple days early to campus to adjust, because I knew I needed it. However, on that first night, I missed dinner and didn’t really know what to do. So I called my mom, and in all of her infinite wisdom she said “Kelin, go get dinner you idiot. You didn’t forget how to eat.” She was right, so I left my room on the 5th floor of Stanley and wandered downtown. I didn’t know any restaurants at the time, so I wandered into the Old Capitol until I found something that I recognized. At the time, this was Quiznos™. I ordered a sandwich, and waited, close to tears. Once it came out, I had what I will forever describe as the worst sandwich of my life. It tasted like deep fried plastic that someone covered in garbage. And I ate the whole thing.
However, on my walk home, and this is cheesy and corny but it’s real, I looked at the night sky over our gold dome. Something stuck me during that time. I decided in that moment that I wouldn’t let my college career be defined by crappy sandwiches and loneliness, so I promised myself I would get involved. The very next day I opened my door both literally to people and figuratively to opportunities. Because I got involved, I made my experience something powerful and special. I could have never imagined it would have turned out how it did. I firmly believe I could have gotten an education anywhere; I wanted to go somewhere where I could grow as a human being. Iowa gave me that, and a ton more. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my time here.
Picking the right student Organization for yourself.
I know what you’re thinking, there are so many options! What can I do? How do I pick just one? Its simple don’t pick one at first, don’t limit yourself. Everything that seems worth trying sign up for and try it out for at least one meeting or event. You might be a student who knows exactly what you want to do and you might want a complete change from high school. Whatever you decide get involved.
I remember walking into the Pick One Fair my freshmen year and being overwhelmed with all the choices for getting involved at Iowa. I found myself putting my name down at one table and then another and then another and by the end of the row of tables I had more free candy than I knew what to do with and I signed up for all the student organizations. I went back to my room and narrowed it down to my “top ten”. Then, I went to meetings and events and was able to then break it down to my “fab five”. I signed up for sports and clubs I did in high school and a ton of random Organizations I didn’t know if I would like. I am still in all the organizations I didn’t think I would end up loving because they provided me with a new adventure and a new group of friends. Take this chance in college to take risks and try new things or stick with what you know and make new friends doing it. Regardless of what you decide get involved!