As an undergrad here at UNH in August of 2012, I was coming from a high school where I was heavily involved. As a result, I was really burnt out and ready to just relax at UNH. I made the decision to not join any student organizations right off the bat or get a job. I wanted to focus on my experience, my grades and most importantly – myself. This attitude of mine only lasted a short while until I somewhat lost my mind without having places to be and meetings to attend. I found myself in a bit of a rut. I was going to class, to my dorm, to class, to the dining hall, and occasionally to the gym. I had no obligations besides class. While education is really important, and the primary reason I am here at UNH, I needed something more. My plan of focusing on myself by not getting involved turned into me losing my own happiness. So when second semester rolled around, I got a work study job at the Center for International Education and joined Project Sunshine with a few of my friends. I was slowly – but surely – gaining my happiness back.
Since then, my experience at UNH has been prominently shaped around my student organizations. I have since joined Student Senate, Her Campus, and landed an internship with the UNH Social Team. I migrated jobs, and now I work at the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership in the Memorial Union Building. My leadership experiences brought me to places like UNH Leadership Camp, MLK Leadership Summit, and even to a position as an Orientation Leader for the UNH Office of First Year Programs. It’s safe to say I have remained busy, and regained a lot of my happiness that I lost my first few months here at UNH. Something important to realize is that getting and staying involved are two different things. Here are some tips on how to get involved and stay involved during your time here:
Attend University Day, also known as UDay!
UDay is a day here on campus where many different student organizations and other community organizations that you can get involved in through UNH, set up tables on Thompson Hall Lawn, showcasing their group and helping to get students involved. There are so many different organizations here on campus. Chances are you WILL find something you are interested in being a part of. Make sure you get to UDay, held on Wednesday, September 16th – p.s. there is free food – who doesn’t like free food? Don’t forget to share your pictures and videos from U-Day on Instagram with @UNHStudents and #MyUDay… You could win $25 gift cards to Durham local businesses!
Remember that saying: you will is just half the battle. Once you get the information, you have to do something with it. It’s one thing to say to an organization that you’ll be at their first meeting but actually going and showing up is the next step. Make sure you get an agenda, and write down the location and time. Also it may help if you set a reminder in your phone. Plan around these meetings. If you keep saying, “Oh, I’ll go to the next one…” you may never end up going.
You’re more likely to stay involved in an organization if you are active in it. That means going to organization meetings, going to events that your organization has planned and even just grabbing a meal or something with someone from your organization. The more connections you make, the more you will get out of your involvement. Staying active and possibly even gaining leadership roles within your organization is a great way to make the most out of it. Organizations can be a lot of work – but they are meant to be fun. So stay active and have fun with it, and you’re bound to stay involved.
Being involved is on a spectrum. If you want to be crazy booked and have little free time – you can definitely make that happen for yourself. If you want to join one organization and really rock it – that’s also a great option. The most important thing is to get involved and stay active. Creating a space for yourself to call your own within this huge campus, and connecting with others with similar interests is a great way to make the most out of college. It’s never too late to get involved – remember, I went from having nothing on my plate to possibly having too much. These years at UNH are what you make of them – do what makes you happy.