The number of available college events may seem overwhelming — and, if you are having a tough time deciding what to do, you aren’t alone. From the numerous booths promoting campus organizations to the students scrambling to get to the best tailgate, many freshmen choose to hide in their dorm rooms instead of facing the crowds. If you are one of them, then it is time to lace up your sneaks, don your favorite (okay, your only) college tee and see what your university has to offer. From Greek rush and student government to college football games, here are the top things you need to try — now!
- School sponsored events — these can range from art shows and free concerts to job fairs and information about studying abroad — so be sure to stop by and check out what your college has to offer! If you don’t have a calendar of events, check your university’s website. The Ohio State University, for instance, offers an “Events Calendar” page where students can filter events by type, month, and audience.
- RA/Dorm floor meetings/mixers — so your RA has planned a night of fun. Wooooo Hooooo! Before you send your regrets, turn off the lights, and hide quietly in your room, give it a shot. It may seem like a boring way to pass a Friday night, but use this time to get to know the people you will be living with for the next year. If the gathering is just brutal, stick it out once — and then make sure you have other plans with your floormates when the next one rolls around.
- Student club/organization meetings — you know all of those booths set up on campus? Stop by a few that look interesting…and then follow up by attending a meeting. Repeat until you find one that interests you. (It’s that easy!)
- Greek rush/recruitment — ahhh, Greek life. You may be totally excited, completely overwhelmed or simply nauseous at the thought of “going Greek.” Even so, consider going through the first round of recruitment — it is definitely an experience. You may even come to realize that the stereotypes have nothing to do with the actual lifestyle.
- Pep rallies — like dorm living, this is one college experience that everyone should have. Not just for cheerleaders and athletes, pep rallies can be a fun way to get pumped up for the big game. And if you imagine a high school gymnasium with a few band members, then think again! Most universities go all out. For instance, Notre Dame‘s home opener pep rally includes giveaways, obstacle courses, football related challenges and former players signing autographs. Sounds like a fun way to spend a Saturday morning!
- Faculty/Student mixers — if your school offers them, take advantage now. These are great ways to meet your professors, network and stand out in the crowd.
- Parents weekend — okay, okay. The last thing you may want is your parents invading your college territory, but this is an awesome way to show them your school. Buy tickets to the concert, make dinner reservations and book the hotel early — parents weekend might just end up being one of your most memorable college experiences!
- Sporting events — one of the best ways to feel like you belong is to share in the camaraderie that is college football (or basketball…or hockey…or baseball). No need to sweat if you can’t get tickets to the big game. Grab your foam finger and head off to tailgate anyway. Even if you have to listen to the game in the parking lot, at least you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of die-hard fans and having some burgers.
- Student government meetings — even if politics isn’t your thing, stop by a meeting to find out what is going on at your school. Who knows? You may learn that you are student government material after all.
- Student orientation — if it isn’t too late, attend student orientation. This is the time where you can learn about your school, take tours of the campus (so you won’t be clueless when your lit teacher says you’re meeting in media center 3B) and attend open houses and seminars. For students attending Stanford University, for instance, student orientation includes campus tours, open houses to different departments, facilities, and offices, and advisor meetings. Check to see when your college has orientation (or even “Open House”) and attend as many events as possible. You’ll be happy that you did!
As the old saying goes, “You never know until you try.” … “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” … You get the idea. Now, go get ’em!