Kayla is a junior at the University of California, Berkeley, where she currently serves as the President of her sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. She is majoring in Nutritional Science but has a passion for writing, social media, and marketing. She also plays on the Cal Women’s Club Volleyball team.
In high school, you might have joined clubs and organizations for the sole purpose of bolstering your college application. It is a common strategy utilized by many, and depending on the person, it may or may not lead to unhappiness. In college, on the other hand, the activities that you involve yourself in mean so much more than improving your personal statistics. Ultimately, they will define your college experience.
While the residence halls, or wherever you live during your first year, can make a significant difference in your first few weeks of school, it will fall upon you, as an individual, to actively seek out who you want to be friends with. You are no longer forced to go to classes, assigned specific groups for projects, or made to eat your meals in certain areas on campus. There is so much more freedom; yet, this means that if you don’t interact with your classmates and decide to isolate yourself, no one will stop you. (Of course, if you have roommates, they will likely try to include you at first.)
So what is my advice to you? Basically, join the clubs that actually interest you. Even if you’re pre-medicine, you don’t have to only participate in public health-related organizations or medical societies. If there’s a Harry Potter club on campus that catches your eye, sign up. If you get tired of it after a year, you don’t have to stick around (unless you made a commitment as an officer, which is another story). Maintain the friendships that you value, and move forward— that’s my philosophy, at least.
For me, I think that it is important to think of relationships in terms of who you want to be in your life after you move onto the next step (career, graduate school, etcetera). Yes, being polite and respectful to your peers is always necessary. However, you don’t have to try to be best friends with everyone. With university-level classes and other work preoccupying your thoughts, you have a very limited amount of time to give to others in regards to bonding and hanging out. Use your effort on the people that you want to be friends with in the future.
At this point in your life, I hope you’ve learned that it is about the quality, not the quantity, of your relationships. Reflect on this, and use clubs and organizations to help you find like-minded people.
Personally, I’ve built relationships in more ways than one. My freshman year of college, I joined a sorority and found women who shared similar philanthropic and social values as myself. Because I’m interested in sports, I also began participating in volleyball as a player (at the intramural and club levels) and as an employee. I’m a member of a national leadership-honors society that emphasizes scholarship, which is also important to me. Essentially, I have used the vast amount of resources at my disposal to further my relationships. After reading this article, my hope is that you do the same!