We all want to be part of a community, and starting university might make you feel nervous about immersing yourself in a new environment. Here are some ideas on how to get involved to make the transition easier.
There are many benefits to engaging with your school community.
- Make friends. Joining clubs and societies is a great way to meet new people who share similar interests.
- Gain leadership skills. Taking on leadership roles can teach you how to work with and motivate others — great preparation for future jobs and other opportunities.
- Build your resumé. Show employers or graduate schools that you have time management skills, talents outside the classroom, and the initiative to take on new experiences.
- Reduce stress and have fun. Take a break from school and make your university experience more balanced and enjoyable.
These are just some of the benefits that you'll experience. Now let's see how you can get involved.
Clubs and intramurals
Many of the clubs and teams you're familiar with from high school probably exist at university. Joining a club lets you explore your hobbies or different cultures, volunteer with charities or social movements, and more. At Waterloo, we host a Clubs Day at the beginning of each school year where you can discover our 250+ clubs. If you enjoy playing sports but don't want to play competitively, intramural teams are a great way to get active and have fun.
Student societies are similar to student council in high school. They host events, provide support, and advocate for students. At Waterloo, the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) represents all undergrad students. There are also faculty societies, like the Arts Student Union and the Waterloo Engineering Society.
You can choose to volunteer to get a feel for what the societies are all about. Also, if you're looking for a leadership role there are positions specifically for first-year students.
Many schools have campus newspapers, podcasts, or radio stations that highlight events and activities. If you enjoy writing, photography, videography, proofreading, or design, getting involved with your school media outlets may be a good option. You'll get to develop your skills through volunteering while helping keep your community informed.
Working on campus is a fun way to make some extra cash. You'll learn more about university services, make new connections, and likely find your managers very accommodating during exam periods. Campus jobs are also really accessible. Run home on your lunch break or go to work in between classes, whatever works for you!
One final tip is to remember to not overdo it! Choose just one or two things to try, and slowly integrate more until you find the right fit for you!
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