Getting Involved as a First Year Student

By: Kiara

Going into my freshman year, I was unsure of what activities would be the best fit for me, but after completing my first semester I am thankful for how much I have learned from each activity. Sometimes it can be intimidating or feel overwhelming to try new things, but challenging yourself to do so can help you grow in the long run.

During the start of the first semester I became involved in the figure skating team, the University Honors Program, and started working at Career and Internship Services. Actively participating in these activities throughout the year helped me to build a community, pursue my interests, and develop transferable skills.

Image: colorful pens on white background
Text: Getting involved as a first year student

Build a Community
Being a part of the University Honors Program has given me the opportunity to meet new people and engage with my surrounding community. Through this program, I volunteered at a local assisted living facility in Duluth which made me feel more connected with my new community. I also attended other events within this program that helped me to gain critical thinking skills and learn with an open mind which can be valuable tools for a future career. Immersing yourself in a club or an organization can leave you feeling more integrated within the campus. Creating connections and a community can also give you a stronger sense of purpose or identity. 

Pursue Your Interests
UMD has so many great opportunities for students to get involved in things they are passionate about or interested in exploring such as a variety of clubs, sports, and other organizations. Personally, I joined the intercollegiate and synchronized figure skating teams since I wanted to continue to figure skate. This connected me to others who have a similar passion and taught me the importance of teamwork. I also continued to pursue my individual figure skating tests, which taught me a lot about self-discipline and self-motivation. During setbacks, it can be tempting to quit in the moment, but getting back up and overcoming these challenges are typically worth it in the end. The lessons we learn from pursuing our interests can aid us in our career development since we most likely will encounter adversities such as not getting a job offer, facing rejection, and receiving tough criticism. 

Develop Your Transferable Skills
Joining new clubs and organizations can help you gain essential transferable skills that you can apply to almost any field. Being a member of a club gives you a chance to run for an officer position which can be a valuable leadership experience. Planning events or leading meetings can also strengthen your work ethic and show your dedication to the team. Working as a front desk receptionist at Career and Internship Services has helped me improve my communication, organization, and time management skills. Employment opportunities or activities you are involved in can also enhance your resume and highlight important experiences.

Through managing your time well and working hard, it is possible to balance your academics and be involved in meaningful experiences outside of the classroom. Hopefully participating in extracurricular activities will give you the skills needed to face potential career roadblocks down the path. These are some of my interests and I hope you are able to pursue yours!

Of Possible Interest:
Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topic
Boost Your Career in College – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Kiara’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Olia Gozha

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