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What I Wish I Would’ve Known About Getting Involved

I got involved with campus the moment I arrived at Boise State. Four years ago, I remember saying goodbye to my parents after they  helped me move into my apartment. They drove away and I walked through campus with a feeling of freedom and excitement. I was determined to not waste any time getting involved on campus to meet new people and have new experiences.

One of my first strolls through campus as a student, 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. I recognized Ben from high school and he handed me a colorful flier listing 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.

This student ministry is where I would make the most genuine connections with people. I felt welcomed from the moment I walked in the door of that little church on Euclid Street where they held their weekly gathering. Several people approached me to get to know me and help me get connected with small groups. I clicked with some lovely girls who later became my roommates. These connections encouraged me to lead a women’s Bible study with my roommate out of our home. I remember craving connection and community my freshman year, so I wanted to help new students feel connected and find belonging too. 

Finding belonging

I suffer from the fear of missing out (or as my friend calls it, “Fomolly”). I filled up my schedule with Boise State events and ran from one thing to the next. Even though I was busy, it was well worth it.

Getting involved right away made an impact on my social life and overall well-being. I thrive through quality time with people who will do fun activities with me. It’s how I made some of the best connections and found 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. I’ve heard “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 challenged 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 building new friendships. No job, no sports, no obligations. But I quickly felt something was missing from my active lifestyle.

Dancing had always been my emotional outlet and my favorite way to be physically active. When I started college, I put dancing regularly on pause for a whole year which was a difficult adjustment. In my second year, I  heard 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 dance environment to I was looking for. I walked into the Rec Center, put on a nametag and learned a 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 reminded me how much I missed it. After the show, I found out a whole row of my friends had come to watch me and cheer me on. I learned that Boise State has opportunities for anyone to do what they love if you put in the time to look for them. 

Making connections

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 chance to dance and perform again. 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. You can 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.

Following @getinvolvedbsu is another great way to stay updated on what’s happening around campus, find something fun to do and meet new people.

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.

My best 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.

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