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Finding Meaningful Extracurricular Activities

A new semester means another activity fair and signing up to be part of a million new clubs but never actually showing up to the GIM. This is a universal experience among all college students. But how do you overcome this phase and get involved with clubs and organizations on campus?

I believe it starts with asking yourself what you care about and the type of communities you want to invest your time in. Answering these questions isn’t easy and they take a lot of time. This is why it’s crucial to explore and attend the GIM for the clubs you sign up for. You will never know what you like or don’t until you try out different clubs on campus.

A safe place to start is always an academic/pre-professional club related to your major or career goals. This allows you to meet people in the major and talk to upperclassmen about their journey. It is also a great way to get in touch with faculty members through different event planning. Being on the BCS and Neuroscience Undergraduate Council E-board has allowed me to work closely with the department and get to know faculty members outside of the classroom. I was also able to get to know the graduate students in the department and their journey in academia. Additionally, working with the E-board to plan and host events allowed me to build friendships that I will always cherish.

Another community I would recommend being connected to would be any cultural groups you identify with. Being away from home during cultural and religious holidays can be very difficult so I try to connect with the South Asian community as much as I can to feel at home. I think investing in communities that help you feel included and provide you with a sense of community is a great way to get involved on campus and find your people. Being part of Bangla Basha has allowed me to learn so much about my mother language and connect with Bengali students on campus. I love planning and hosting events with the E-board that my family used to celebrate.

I also think investing time in service-based organizations on campus can be rewarding. The amazing part about these clubs is that there are so many ways you can give back to the community from helping students with college applications to making residential life more homey. Being part of the Residential Hall Association has been such a transformative and rewarding experience for me. Planning and hosting events to help students build a community within their living area has been amazing to witness. Events such as Friendsgiving brought many people together and allowed them to interact with their neighbors.

Outside of these highlighted groups, you can also find clubs related to your hobbies and interests. The University of Rochester has many clubs that include sports, hobbies, academics, service based and so much more. Explore the clubs that draw your attention and try to stay involved with the community! You will find so much joy in what you do and meet amazing peers who share similar interests!

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