While getting a degree is important, there’s a lot more to college than going to class, studying, and getting good grades. Don’t get us wrong — you should definitely be doing all those things — but you’ll have a much better experience if you get out of the dorm room and get involved.
Whether you go to a major university, private school, or community college, there will likely be plenty of extra stuff to get involved in. Here are seven things to get excited about this school year!
1. University Athletics
University athletic events can be some of the most exciting experiences of your college years.
There’s nothing quite like getting dressed up in your school swag and tailgating with friends for a Saturday football game. Try taking an extended study break on a weeknight to watch a basketball or baseball game. You don’t have to be a sports fan to love these events either. Just go with your best friends and enjoy supporting your school colors!
If you’re not interested in loud, high-energy environments, there are still plenty of ways you can get involved in and take advantage of your school’s university athletics.
Your college or university probably has an athletics or fitness center that’s free for students to use. You don’t have to be a student-athlete to work out either! Avoid the “freshman 15” and blow off some post-exam steam on a treadmill. Or lift some weights as a healthy and productive way to spend some time — it’s completely free!
2. Music & Performing Arts
Almost every school has a music and performing arts program, and while you’re there, you absolutely need to take advantage of it! Add some culture to your life by attending concerts performed by faculty, students, and internationally acclaimed guest artists.
These events are usually free for students to attend, and you almost certainly won’t regret it. Just make sure you turn off your electronic devices before the concerts start!
If you’re interested in more hands-on activities, try taking some instrument lessons from one of your school’s virtuoso students! You might not have known this, but just about every music program has a community school in which students can begin developing their pedagogical skills with kids and families in the surrounding area. They’re almost always open to taking on new students, so just ask!
Are you interested in the history of classical music? Jazz? Rock and pop?
Get even more involved in the music and performing arts program by taking an introductory or music appreciation course. Bonus, doing so will satisfy a general credit requirement.
3. Greek Life
When most people think of fraternities and sororities, they probably think of toga parties, loud music, keg stands, and beer pong.
While those rumors are true in many cases, there’s much more to Greek life. Even the organizations that throw wild parties make sure to balance them with academic responsibility and philanthropy.
That’s right — you have to keep good grades in order to stay in your Greek organization. You’ll be part of fundraising events aimed at building a better community and playing a small role in something much bigger than yourself.
But the best part about Greek life is becoming part of a family. You’ll make friends in your Greek organization who’ll stick around for the rest of your life — and that’s more exciting than any party or fundraiser we can imagine!
4. Clubs & Special-Interest Groups
You don’t have to join a Greek organization to find friends, though. There are probably hundreds of clubs and special-interest groups at your college or university for you to get involved in. If you love to travel, there’s probably a club for that. If you like to go surfing or scuba-diving, there’s probably a club for that too!
Clubs are a great way to spend your free time, from helping to raise and train future service dogs to getting involved in activism and local politics. There’s something for just about everyone!
5. Academic Organizations
Whether you take a trip to NASA with the astronomy club or help first-year students as a math tutor, being in academic organizations can be a rewarding experience.
There are leadership organizations that exist entirely to recognize the academic achievements of devoted students and to foster that devotion in future generations. Becoming a part of these organizations takes hard work, but you’ll join the ranks of the brightest minds in the world.
Being in these organizations will help your resume stand out on job applications, and it will give you practical experience. Not to mention, bonus points for graduate school admissions.
6. Campus Media Productions
Just about every college has a radio station, and it’s run entirely by students! Discover great local music and exciting dialogue on topics relevant to your school campus while reviewing your notes from class.
Attend concerts or volunteer as a roadie on your campus media production crew for some cool work experience. These teams usually run sound and video for music & arts performances and sporting events, so get involved if that sounds like your cup of tea!
7. Miscellaneous Activities
On just about any college campus, there’s always something to do. Get active and make friends while playing intramural sports for low-stress fun. You might find a poetry or open mic night at the campus coffee shop or have the chance to check out student work at the campus art gallery.
Universities often bring in famous musicians, speakers, and comedians, so keep your eyes peeled for a free once-in-a-lifetime event!
Your college years will be some of your best.
The more you get involved in, the better they’ll be, so make sure you get out of your comfort zone and make the most of it!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Arch Troy to help them with their online marketing.