Finding Your Place
The variety of social options available to a new student may seem over-whelming. However, the key is to follow your instincts. Most groups on campus will provide you with fun activities and great friends. But because you won't have time to do everything, you will need to make difficult choices. When you are considering an organization, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you feel comfortable with other members of the group?
What time commitment is involved?
What are the requirements of membership?
What does the group offer you, other than a fun group to hang out with?
What financial commitment is expected from you?
Will membership support your academic or career goals?
Are there leadership opportunities available for you?
Do the organization's goals and values match your own?
As you examine each organization and ask these questions, discuss your options and thoughts with friends and family. The people who know you best will sense any reservations you have and be familiar with your goals and values. Sometimes you will disagree with friends and family, but be certain to listen to their feedback. Be sure to pay the most attention to those who have known you the longest. After careful consideration, you can choose the group that's right for you.
A number of social groups on campus will seek to have you as a member. Most will offer something beyond the social scene, such as leadership development or community service opportunities. Your challenge will lie in choosing which organizations to join, so consider your choices carefully.
Trust yourself and your instincts, even if you cannot articulate your reasons for making a decision regarding a group. If you feel comfortable with the other people who are in the learning community or fraternity, then that might be the right choice for you. If you are happy with an individual approach to life on campus, you may not benefit from joining a group. If all your friends are joining a sorority or club, but something about it doesn't feel right to you, then you shouldn't join. However, if you do make the wrong decision the first time around, don't worry. Every new semester will offer you the chance to re-evaluate your commitments.