When you’re leaving home for the first time, finding a group of people with interests similar to your own is a great comfort – but it can be an even greater headache to find them.
GW offers more than 475 student organizations to help find your place in a community of students. With that many organizations, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. At the annual student organization fair, you have a chance to mix and mingle with all of the student groups on campus. Before you head out, here are the tips you need to know.
Don’t be afraid to make a change
No one knows your high school niche. Even if you were captain of the debate team or president of the chess club, you don’t need to continue those hobbies in college. Joining an organization that focuses on something you’ve done before can be a good start to meeting people with similar interests, but don’t be afraid to step outside the box. You might surprise yourself by joining GW TRAiLS, even if you’ve never been an outdoorsy person in the past, or signing up for a club sport that you’ve never played before. For returning students, if you’re still looking for a new way to get involved, take a chance on the club that seems a little out of your comfort zone – you may just meet lifelong friends.
Set your goals
Your search for student organizations should begin with asking yourself what you hope to gain from joining. For example, if you hope to make close-knit relationships, then you will probably want to look for smaller organizations with fewer members and lots of meetings. On the other hand, if you want to meet people or branch out from your current circle of friends, then look for a larger student organization with many members, like the GW College Democrats or College Republicans. Ask the members manning the club’s table at the fair about size and the frequency of meetings to help you make your choice.
Do your research
You may think going to the fair is the place to do research about the student organizations on campus, but you’ll want to do your own digging before you get there. Check out GW’s OrgSync page, where you can read all about GW’s different organizations. Then check out the organizations that interest you on social media to see if you like the vibe the group gives off and learn about the events and activities they have hosted in the past.
Don’t join a thousand email lists
Every student organization has a table set up with important information, including its objective, upcoming activities, important dates and a sign-up sheet where you can provide your email to receive updates and information. Don’t feel bad if you decide the group isn’t right for you – just thank the students and move on. Unless you love being flooded with thousands of unwanted emails, it’s best to avoid to the pity sign-up and wait until you’re sure you want to join the group before getting daily updates.