Extra curricular activities in college

Hello everyone! My name is David De Leon, currently a senior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Political Science and Urban Studies, with certificates in Portuguese and Geographic Information Systems. When I’m not at the library hitting the books, you can find me playing soccer with my intramural team or volunteering, running through Schenley Park, or volunteering at the local YMCA. There’s no doubt that college is a completely different experience from high school. One of these differences involves the amount of time one spends inside the classroom. Contrary to high school, the majority of time college students spend in class is far less. With a lot more time on their hands, many students decide to quickly get involved in extra-curriculars and organizations—to both boost their resumes and meet new friends. One question that I get asked frequently as a first year student mentor is, “How many clubs should I join?” To be honest, this is a question I can’t ever give an exact answer to. In my opinion, the amount of involvement a student can handle differs among individuals. Some people can handle being involved in four or five organizations, while juggling their classwork and part time jobs. Alternatively, there’s people who can only handle being involved in a few clubs a semester—and that’s perfectly fine. For me, I found that I perform better academically when I’m more involved, but I discovered this after a little bit of trial and error. In simpler terms, the most helpful answer I give to students is this: Get involved with what you feel comfortable with. Extra curricular activities are called that just for a reason! They’re supposed to be things you do in addition (but not in replacement of) your classes. If you feel like you can’t handle the level of commitment in an organization, it’s perfectly fine to get involved next semester. My general advice to first semester freshman is to choose one or two organizations that you are interested in, and attend a few of their general body meetings. Most organizations tend to have their meetings once a week, usually in the evenings so that most people can attend outside of class. It’s also a good idea to see if you can get a schedule of the events that club will have for the semester (if available) ahead of time. That way, you can easily place these commitments on your calendar to avoid the problem of double booking yourself later on down the road. Above all, you want to ensure that your involvement does not interfere with studying in any way. The last thing you want when applying to jobs or graduate school is a strong resume full of campus involvement, but be brought down by a weak GPA. Aside from choosing the balance of activities, you want to also make sure that what you’re getting involved in accurately reflects your interests. To get involved in a club just because it “looks good on a resume” is a bad mentality to have. Rather, join clubs that you’re passionate about. This will ensure not only that you have a great experience in the organization, but it will also allow you to organically articulate your involvement during interviews. All in all, the lesson here is simple: extra curriculars can help make your college experience unforgettable, but be judicious in what you get involved with!

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest