The transition from High School to a big university like Penn State is exciting, but can also be overwhelming. As soon as students get to school, they have to go out of their way to meet people and make friends, which can be a bit nerve wracking. One of the best pieces of advice that I received when entering my freshmen year was to join clubs and organizations as soon as I could to meet new people. Now, I can confidently say that the clubs and organizations I got involved with really shaped my Penn State experience for the better. Additionally, I found that while I was making lifelong friends, I was developing professionally through broadening my network.
I truly believe that getting involved in student organizations is one of the best things you can do at Penn State. At the beginning of my freshmen year, I attended the Fall Involvement Fair and noted the organizations that sparked my interest. I ended up joining 2 philanthropic organizations: Penn State THON and Epsilon Sigma Alpha and 1 professional organization: Penn State Mock Trial. I found that diversifying my interests not only allowed me to meet different people throughout Penn State, but also it helped me develop my passions in philanthropy and professional development. To this day, the people I met and continue to meet in these organizations make a big school like Penn State feel small, and I am forever grateful for that.
However, it is important to note that continuing to stay involved in the organizations you join is what is going to set you apart when it comes to professional development and recruiting for internships/full time positions. Continuous involvement in organizations are what help students gain leadership positions in organizations and gain valuable experience. While recruiters for internships/full time positions like to see students involved on campus, they love to see students in leadership positions on campus. This next step in organizations shows initiative and dedication, which are two qualities that all recruiters are looking for.
Getting and staying involved in organizations on campus help a big campus like Penn State feel like home. Organizations help you meet people and make friends, develop your passions and interests, and expose you to rare leadership experiences. While joining organizations may be as easy as signing up for an email list and showing up to meetings, staying involved and displaying your continued interest is the hard part. However, all of the hard work poured into organizations is so incredibly rewarding in the end.