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Getting involved (and staying involved) in college

College 101 - Checklist.jpgToday's frosh orientation guest lecturer is Tiffany Sanchez, the director of new student programs at American University.

What do these three people have in common?

The over-involved high school senior who's feeling a little burnt out... The yearbook editor who put all their time and energy into the yearbook... The high school athlete who didn't really have time to join clubs in high school...

Sanchez_TiffanyD09_319_219ar.jpgThey all have the common and exciting challenge of getting involved at college.

You've most likely been spending some time on campus lately for orientation and if not, you're probably gearing up to attend some sort of orientation before classes begin. Most colleges and universities will spend at least some time during these programs advising you to "get involved" when you get to campus. And for good reason. It's pretty common knowledge that if college students get involved right away on campus, they're more likely to be happy at college. They're also more likely to graduate.

College and university professional staff members and student leaders all over the country are informing new students about the large numbers of student clubs that exist on campus. "We have over (insert number here) clubs!" You may have heard about Greek Life, Student Government, and the Residence Hall Association. You've probably heard about a variety of ways to get involved with media outlets on your campus; the newspaper, the yearbook, literature magazines, etc.

Think about it. This is the only time in your life where if you want to hang out with a bunch of photographers, you can find them really easily...they're in the Photography Club. And if you ever thought of joining the circus, you can learn to juggle in the "Circus Club". Or if you've ever wanted to visit Hawaii, join the Hawaii Club.

What's that? Your school doesn't offer Hawaii Club? Create it. Find the Student Activities Office on campus and as them how to create your own club. It's usually pretty easy.

The trick is to do what works for you. Just want to invest your time in one activity? That's fine...go for it. Want to join 20 clubs or organizations and then decide later? That's okay too. The most important thing is to find something you enjoy and to stick with it.

After you've found your niche, stick with it. You're building a new community for yourself and that takes a bit of commitment. Attend meetings, make friends, maybe take on a leadership role. Most importantly, have fun!

About your guest lecturer
Tiffany Sanchez is the director of New Student Programs at American University in Washington, D.C. As director of new student programs, Sanchez's job is to assist new students in their transition to college. She is responsible for the university's orientation programming and works directly with first year living-learning communities. She has been at AU for nine years and prior she was the coordinator for Orientations at Youth For Understanding International Exchange.

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all college students -- especially soon-to-be freshmen. So, make sure to bookmark http://washingtonpost.com/campus-overload. You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  |  August 9, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Frosh Orientation  | Tags: American, Frosh Orientation  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lebanon Valley junior's advice: Get involved
Next: Wired studying isn't always the best strategy

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