emily cooney headshot [temporary]

All students have heard the tired sentiment of the importance of getting involved on campus for a great number of beneficial reasons. However, this outdated phrase communicated to students has evolved into something that sounds like there are barriers not all students feel comfortable breaking in order to become involved on campus.

Many students are apprehensive to explore more of what our campus has to offer due to the fear of not having a friend to go with or feeling as though they don’t know enough about the subject of the event. While there are certainly millions of more reasons to talk yourself out of going out of your comfort zone, there are a million more extraordinary experiences awaiting us as college students if we are willing to look for them.

It is far easier to get into the routine of going to class each day, going home, studying and then maybe finding something fun to do as a last priority. While we are all guilty of living in this kind of bubble at times, this will hold us back from reaching our full potential and building new relationships along the way.

As we get older, meeting new people can become challenging as people tend to stick to a smaller circle of friends rather than a large one. However, we must remember not everyone has to be your best friend as acquaintances or even low-maintenance friends that you talk to more sporadically can add joy to our lives as well.

College in itself offers opportunity for tremendous self-growth in terms of independence and expanding your horizons with hobbies you can take the time to develop further. If your favorite class in elementary school was art, why not join an art club where you can reignite a long lost passion as an adult? 

Personally, I have found immense gratification and fulfillment in the clubs and events I have chosen to take part in at NC State. I remember being intimidated to join Technician even as an aspiring journalist. I thought I would have to jump through hoops to be a part of the staff and to pitch unique content each week. To my surprise, it was far easier to join Technician as a writer and begin working as a student journalist than I had anticipated.

If I never took that risk to pursue my passion for journalism, I wouldn’t be where I am today in my college career with published work that I am proud to share with future employers. 

Additionally, I joined the Spanish club and have not regretted it one bit. Not only am I able to practice my language skills, but I am able to meet others interested in similar things as me. It can be difficult to find friends you have things in common with in a school as big as ours, but there is a high probability of connecting with new people and even forming lifelong connections in a club you are interested in.

There are also a number of ways to remain active on campus without the full-time commitment of joining an organization. This can look like going to a sporting event you may not be currently interested in, attending pop-up events like one of the many organized by the University Activities Board, walking a few extra minutes to a different coffee shop than your usual, starting a conversation with someone while waiting at the bus stop or even just switching up the route you take to class. Cool things happen all across campus, not just the standard event locations like Stafford Commons, so take some time every once in a while to switch up your scenery. 

It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and join a club or attend at least one of the many events held on campus. College is the place to become your best independent self while also building meaningful relationships with others along the way. So instead of being intimidated by the pressure to get involved, be more active on campus and see what spectacular experiences come your way. 

Read the University Activities Board emails, check out the NC State website as well as the Get Involved website and simply walk around campus with a more open mind to what could unfold before you as a student with numerous hobbies of all kinds.

I am a fourth year studying Communication with a concentration in Media and Spanish. I started writing for Technician this summer of 2020 as a correspondent.