It’s your first year on campus, away from friends, home and the familiar. Being in a new space with new people can be overwhelming, and though it can feel lonely at first, newness can be a good thing for everyone. Being away gives you the opportunity to explore endless opportunities where memories and lasting friendships can bloom. Here are a few tips on how to get involved in your first year!
Clubs on campus are great spaces where you can meet plenty of people with different majors and years from you. Usually starting the second week of school, Wednesdays at the Belltower are filled with campus organizations that table from morning to the afternoon. ASPB also hosts their weekly Spring Nooners, inviting student artists to perform, making the area lively for hours. Though the area can become crowded, do not fret! Try to go to as many tables as you can to get to know each club and its mission — you might even win a prize from their giveaways.
In case your class schedule keeps you busy on Wednesdays, or you’re away from campus, HighlanderLink lets students explore the different clubs on campus virtually. Simply google a club you have in mind, or any general term if you’re still unsure of what to join, and hit search! Clubs should start appearing instantly beneath the search bar. Once you click on a name, the club’s profile page will pop up and provide a brief description of the club, its board members and meeting times.
Following clubs on Instagram is also a great way for you to see their newest members, as well as their meeting times. Near the end of the fall quarter of my sophomore year, I remember looking at The Highlander’s Instagram and seeing their Monday meeting times. After spending my first year completely online and barricaded in my room during COVID, I thought that this was the best opportunity for me to get involved on campus. So I went to The Highlander office and the rest is history. If I hadn’t gone to the meeting, I would have never met my closest friends, so don’t be afraid to go to club meetings near the end of the quarter. Club meetings are always welcoming new members every week, and you never know; they can become your second home.
Jobs on Campus
My first job was at UCR, and fortunately I was able to find it through Handshake. Handshake is a great place to find campus jobs, especially work-study positions if you need to use your award. Start looking over the summer as many departments usually open up new positions during this time, and many are open to hiring freshmen. Hopefully, when you make it past the interview and get the job (whoo-hoo!), you’ll get to meet talented people working around you and grow closer to the UCR community.
Take Fitness Classes
I know, I know — working out can be tiring, but taking fitness classes at the SRC can be a great space to meet new people. What better way to socialize than with people who are also struggling during a workout with you? The SRC offers a multitude of classes, from yoga to cycling (my favorite, in particular). It’s also a great way to keep both your mental and physical health intact during these lonesome times to keep you busy as you get used to your new setting.
Socializing can be daunting and exhausting, but talking to the people in your classes or even your roommates can lead you to learn more about what UCR has to offer. Take it one step at a time; it’s okay if you only speak to one person at once, or a dozen at a time. Meeting new people isn’t the easiest task, but taking it at your own pace can boost your confidence to create new conversations.