I got involved with Boise State the moment I arrived on campus. If I was going to spend the next four years here, I was determined to meet new people and have new experiences. My parents and I said our goodbyes, they drove away and I walked through campus with a feeling of excitement.
That’s when I saw two familiar men with friendly smiles carrying a basket of Rice Krispie treats. They looked kind and since I never turn down a free snack, I chatted with them. Their names were Billy and Ben. Ben, a student I recognized from my high school, handed me a colorful flier listing a bunch of fun events that a student ministry called Cru was organizing. Floating the river one day and hiking table rock the next, I was determined to join as many activities as I could.
Little did I know, Cru was where I would make genuine connections with people. I felt welcomed from the moment I walked in the door of that little church on Euclid Street. Several people came up to me to chat, ask me questions and help me get connected with other people and small groups. I met some lovely girls who later became my roommates. This fall, I’m excited and honored to lead a women’s Bible study with my roommate. I remember craving connection and community my freshman year, so I want to help new students feel connected and find belonging too.
I suffer from the fear of missing out (or as my friend calls it, “Fomolly”). So, when I first came to Boise State, I was determined to go to as many events as I could and make a new connection everywhere I went. Even though I felt like I was running around like crazy, from one thing to the next, I can say it was one of the best things I did in my first year of college.
Getting involved right away made an impact on my social life and overall well-being. I thrive when I have quality time with people and get out to do fun activities. It’s how I made some of the best connections and grew my college friendships. In fact, I learned a lot about friendships which I reflected on in what I wish I would’ve known about old and new friendships.
One thing I learned is that who you surround yourself with can make or break your college experience. Something I’ve heard and repeated to people is that “you become like the five people you hang out the most with”. I’m forever grateful that I was able to be surrounded by like-minded people who have similar interests and values.
To connect with people, I had to leap out of my comfort zone. As an introverted girl who kept to herself in the past, I had to challenge myself to strike up conversations with strangers and take myself to events with the goal of making a new friend before the end of the night. A quote from author and speaker Jennie Allen became my motivation, “I’d rather risk feeling awkward than miss an opportunity for connection”.
Exploring new opportunities
I was so burnt out after high school that I didn’t want to enter my first year of school being committed to anything other than new friendships. No job, no sports, no obligations. But soon I felt something was missing from my active lifestyle.
Dancing had always been an emotional outlet for me and a fun way for me to be physically active. When I got to Boise State, not dancing regularly for a whole year was a difficult adjustment. In my second year, I was fortunate to hear about the Bronco Dance Club when interviewing the president of the club. After asking her a few questions about the club, I was sold.
The Bronco Dance Club was the welcoming, low-stress environment to dance in that I was looking for. I walked into the Rec Center, put on a nametag and learned the combo from another student. I was out of practice, but it was a joy to move again and meet other dancers.
When I heard about the club’s annual spring showcase, I jumped at the chance to audition. I hadn’t performed in two years, but the student-run show was a fun and lively experience. After the show, I found out a whole row of my friends had come to watch me and cheer me on.
Student organizations and clubs helped me find my people. Cru gifted me with community and spiritual growth and the Bronco Dance Club gifted me with the opportunity to dance and perform. I wish I would’ve known how impactful these communities would be on my college experience instead of worrying about if I was ever going to make friends when I moved to Boise.
Knowing how to get involved in a new environment can feel overwhelming at times. A great place to start is by going to the involvement fair to see the plethora of clubs that Boise State has to offer all at once. It’s an opportunity to meet people who are involved and see which student organizations may be a good fit for you. Whether you’re interested in art, sports, the outdoors or video games, there’s a club for almost anything you can think of.
I wish I would’ve realized earlier that it never hurts to ask. Talk to other students and ask them how they stay involved and connected at Boise State. Ask if you can join them at the next club meeting or campus event. Invite new people to go do things so you can get to get to know them.
Following @getinvolvedbsu is another great way to stay updated on what’s happening around campus and find opportunities to do something fun and meet new people.
My piece of advice to you is to try new things, even if you don’t know anyone else who’s doing it. You might just meet your best friends.