Regular tips and advice to help you better navigate young adulthood from someone who had to learn some of this stuff (way too much of this stuff) the hard way
Take it from me… you need to have a life outside of school and work. No, really, you do. And one of the best, most enjoyable, and most beneficial things you can do is get involved. Check out what activities your school and city offer. While you do not want to overload yourself by choosing too many clubs and activities, consider making a plan to learn more about and even join a couple of organizations this semester.
For those of you fully in the workforce, you need to have a life outside of working. No, really, you do. There are clubs, organizations, and activities around you as well even if you’re not in school anymore. A quick Google, Facebook, or Reddit search can provide information about whatever you may be interested in doing or trying and help you get connected to others with the same interests.
Join one organization that’s related to your current/potential major and a second club or organization that closely aligns with your passions, hobbies, or activities you enjoy. If a club like that is not currently offered and you have the time and wherewithal to do so, create what’s missing. For most, you’ll just need a faculty advisor and a couple of like-minded individuals to create an on-campus club/organization.
- Many campuses will have Spring Organization Fairs in the upcoming days (if they have not already), so you’ll be able to meet club/org members, ask questions, and find out more about upcoming meetings and events.
- If you can’t make it to the Fair for some reason, check out your school’s Student Life page or search for Registered Student Organizations to see what your campus offers.
How I Made This Work:
- When I went to Texas State, I joined The History Club (related to my minor) and Concert Band (fun activity)
- At Memphis, I was a part of The Pinch (the campus-run literary journal) (related to my major) and The Daily Helmsman (the campus newspaper) (fun activity)
- At UTD, I joined Reunion (the campus-run literary journal) and major-related honor societies (related to my academic focus), was a part of Radio UTD (fun activity), and participated in Alternative Spring Break twice (closely aligned to my passions). Keeping up with classes and multiple jobs/responsibilities was a lot, but setting aside two-five hours a week was all it took to be a part of something that helped me make friends, try new things, and gain job-related experiences and connections.
TIFM Thought Bubble:
To my fellow introverts, I know that this particular task can feel overwhelming for many reasons. Believe me, I do, but there are advantages to getting out of your comfort zone when you feel safe and able to (and, if you’re like me, you’ll meet fellow introverts where you’re at and who understand what you go through while in social situations…there are strength in numbers)
If joining a club isn’t your scene or you’re not currently attending school, you can also find a local organization to volunteer for during your free time instead. Even better if you can find a way to volunteer for an organization that somewhat aligns with your current/former/potential major, passions, or interests for a variety of reasons: you’re giving back, which is always good, you’re potentially seeing your future should you choose that career path, or you may even realize that this is what you want to be doing with your life instead, and you can start making plans to pivot accordingly.
Near-campus opportunities: if there isn’t anything on your campus that you can join or create, check out what may be around in the city/town you currently live in. Local rec centers, library branches, and community Facebook pages may provide opportunities that better align with your schedule and interests. Just a word of caution depending on your interest: if you signed an honor code at your school, just make sure your joining doesn’t violate what you agreed to.
Places to volunteer: many local organizations as well as local chapters of regional or national organizations can use long-term help. If you like being around animals, check out local shelters or veterinary clinics. If you like children, look for school-day and after-school programs. Whether you have an interest in the medical field, the environment, social action, or more, there are a wealth of opportunities out there. If you have an interest, there’s probably already something running close to where you are. This site provides dozens of opportunities or you can always Google “Volunteer Opportunities” + whatever you’re interested in to learn more about what options can be found in your area.
- Virtual opportunities: many volunteer opportunities remain virtual, which provides flexibility for those who may not be close to the volunteer location, for those who may not have schedule flexibility, or for those who may not feel comfortable with volunteering in-person. This site offers leads on virtual opportunities in a number of fields, or you can always Google “Virtual Volunteer Opportunities” to learn more about what options can be found in your area.