People will always tell you over and over, get involved on campus, get involved on campus, it’s one thing that will make your university life complete! And while I agree, I find that sometimes there seems to be a sort of cookie-cutter approach when telling people how to be involved: become an RA, join the executive committee for the Student Leadership Conference, join a club. And while these are all valid ways of getting involved, they aren’t necessarily well suited for everyone. I think the poster child for involvement is the outgoing person who seems to know everyone and fills all their hours outside of class with extracurriculars. For someone like me, an introvert with not a whole lot of time to spare outside of class, this format doesn’t necessarily work.
There are lots of ways to get involved on campus, definitely. Clubs are a good way to start, but maybe there aren’t any that catch your eye (although there are over 300) or maybe you don’t have the time to commit to one. That’s okay, too! If you don’t have the time, a good way of being involved on campus is participating in events: Day of the Longboat, Storm the Wall, the Apple Festival, AMS events, events that clubs put on with a small fee for non-members.
Another good way of getting involved is participating in sports, if that interests you. The REC centre offers many instructional classes at discount prices for students as well as intramurals. Don’t like to play? Show your support at a Thunderbirds game.
An often-overlooked opportunity is Student Directed Seminars. You get to work with a professor to create a course that you want to take that isn’t currently offered at UBC. Talk about taking charge of your education!
The university also has amazing fine arts programs for you to take advantage of – the School of Music regularly puts on recitals and concerts in both the Barnett Recital Hall and the Chan Centre for Performing Arts (many of which are free), the drama program puts on plays year-round at the Freddy Wood Theatre, and the Belkin Art Gallery has always got art on display (also at no cost).
Getting a job on campus, especially a Work Study/Work Learn position, can get you really involved. You get to work with faculty members (networking, anyone?), often in the field of your choice, for a small amount of hours and pretty good pay, and you learn a lot, too.
Ultimately, what makes your university experience meaningful is up to you. For me, involvement means blogging, playing in and attending concerts, taking advantage of all the places you can get into with your UBC card, taking part in events like Day of the Long Boat (and I also intend to Storm the Wall this year), knitting club, taking yoga at the REC centre, and above all, having a community of friends who I can share this experience with.
University is this really neat space where you aren’t quite a kid anymore but not quite an adult, so take advantage of that – have some fun. For more information on getting involved on campus, visit the Centre for Student Involvement website, or go to the CSI in Brock Hall for Involvement Coaching.