My First Time Going to a Student Org Meeting

I was terrified the first time I went to a student org meeting. But why? I had been to a ton of high school clubs, and had always been involved, so what was different here? Maybe it was the fact that I went to high school with a class size of 150, so when I went to meetings in high school, chances were good I was going to see somebody I knew, or at least know their names. At Ohio State, there are more than 46,000 undergraduate students, so, a bit different. Maybe I was nervous because I was going to Psych Club and I was just a freshman, only having taken the beginner psychology class, so I was going to be so less informed as everyone else. Or, maybe I was nervous because everyone always talked about the importance of clubs and being involved. I needed to be the perfect amount of involved.

Lesson 1: The First Meeting, Nobody Knows Anybody

I walked in expecting everyone to already know each other, but the reality is, everyone was like me, just sitting quietly and exchanging small talk with each other, and it was just a relaxing environment. I sat down and introduced myself to the person sitting next to me. We started with the beginning questions that everyone asks when they first meet in college, such as, “What’s your name, major, and where are you from?” We started with some small talk about our psychology classes and what we liked and didn’t like. And then the meeting started.

Lesson 2: The Executive Board Wants to Hear from You

The executive board of the club started with a few introductions of themselves, and then explained the basics of the club, such as how dues worked, when they would be meeting, and other small things like t-shirts. Then they asked us to fill out a survey to see what we wanted to learn about. This was my time to write down psych club topics that I wanted to learn about in my free time. They were looking for good suggestions in order to craft the club content to the students, because at the end of the day, student organizations exist to get students interested and learning about things that they won’t learn in the classroom. This means that executive boards want to hear from you, so don’t be afraid to share your opinion and what you want to see the club do, whether that’s meetups outside of club hours to get food, or volunteering within the scope of the club.

Lesson 3: Don’t Be There for the Resume

It’s important to note that when you are deciding what clubs you want to spend your time at, identify which clubs you are excited to go to, and which ones are for your resume. It’s pretty obvious if you aren’t into the club if you are just there to look involved. When you are putting clubs on your resume, make sure to elaborate on what you did in each club, including volunteer day trips or projects you did–anything to illustrate how your involvement affected your learning.

Last Thoughts

Trying to decide which student organizations you want to attend and put your time toward can be a real struggle. You have to start deciding what you want to spend your time doing and how you think you will be able to handle them along with your classwork. One piece of advice I can give you is to just enjoy your time. Make friends around you in your clubs and try to make it a break in your day, not something to stress about. 

Developing meaningful friendships

It’s easy to connect with people about your favorite Netflix series, where you worked in high school, or even why you chose to come to Ohio State. But how do you know when to initiate the more difficult conversations? During my first year at Ohio State, I didn’t know how to naturally get to know people on a deeper level. Coming to college, you have to choose when to be vulnerable and when to ask the difficult questions. Some of these conversations might include missing your friends back home, adjusting to college, or talking about what is really going on in your life.

I’ve always been a little nervous to be the person to initiate conversations. This was especially true when I came to a big college and it seemed like everyone around me was making close friends so much faster and easier than I was in my attempt to make friends. I just assumed that someone else would be more social and willing to befriend me. That’s not always the case, because everyone is at least a little scared to get to know others–even the outgoing kids! During my first year, I had to keep reminding myself that many freshmen were experiencing similar feelings.

So, where do you go from there? I know it can be intimidating, but stepping out of your comfort zone to initiate these conversations can be really crucial. Here are a few questions to think about or pose to your peers if you’re wanting to take your friendships deeper:

  • What has been the most surprising thing about your first year on campus?
  • What is something you’re excited for this year that you haven’t experienced yet?
  • Is there anything you’d like to do in Columbus or at Ohio State that you haven’t done yet?

There is so much power in being a consistent friend, and that could include sitting by the same people in class, attending a student organization meeting, or just hanging out with the people on your floor. All of these situations are opportunities to push through the wall of small talk.

I think it comes down to this: we all desire to be known and accepted by others. Our lives also become more meaningful when we know others on a deeper level. Whether you’re an upperclass student or new to campus, we never reach a point of having “enough” friends. All of the FYE Peer Leaders especially are upperclass students who are available and willing to talk if you’d like! Feel free to reach out to one of us for other tips on how to build deeper friendships.