getting involved

I realized last semester that due to a combination of busy-ness, laziness, and general fear of putting myself “out there,” I was completely uninvolved in my college’s community

And I know you’re like OH KAT THAT’S NOT TRUE! which, you know, is nice to hear and all but it totally is true. My list of extra-curriculars = zero.

It’s not that I didn’t want to be involved. I really did! My freshman year, I went to the activities fair and signed up for at least ten different clubs/sports/organizations. I went to maybe five introductory meetings. I actually went through an irrevocably scarring interview process for one organization and was rejected which didn’t help matters, but still. Rushing a sorority just didn’t appeal and so many other groups seemed intimidatingly large, so I told myself to just choose one and stick with it. Ultimately I became involved in the newspaper.

And it was great! It was a community, I met tons of people I liked, I learned about how a daily newspaper was published, and over the next two years I went from a staff member to an associate editor to an actual editor of this newspaper. It was pretty cool. Until I realized that I had become so involved in this one activity, I had forgotten to join anything else.

I was still on listservs for all kinds of activities. I would routinely delete the emails I received, but never actually remove myself from the listserv (but what if I change my mind and decide to go and then I don’t know when it meets?!), nor would I actually GO to a meeting (but what if I go and everyone else knows each other and they figure out I’ve been on the listserv for two years and haven’t actually gone, like, EVER?! No, I’m going to stay home and eat cookies. that sounds much more fun).

But sometime within the past six months, my time with the newspaper ended. And I was left feeling like I really should have joined some additional group when I was a freshman because now- in my sixth semester of college- I am much too old to begin something new. I’m almost done….that’s like hiring a senior citizen knowing they’re going to die soon. Like, really?

And then I had a serendipitous (word of the week, thankyouverymuch) conversation with a new friend we realized that we had the same problem. We also realized that we were both being stupid. So what did we do? We went to the activities fair!

Once again, I signed up for way too many things. I get sucked in by the nice people (ohmygod I LOOOOVE your sweater! No, like it’s so cute. Hey, you should join my club!) and the sneaky people (hey do you like to help people? hey do you want to help starving children? what, you don’t?! What’s WRONG with you?!) and the goodies (yes, I really do want that pen/gummy bear/chapstick) but I also felt more motivated than I had ever before. 

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I also got lots of fun free stuff! And then last night, after a delicious dinner and before Pretty Little Liars, I actually went to some meetings.

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(by the way, this salad was awesome. It was a prepackaged garden mix with marinated tofu, roasted chickpeas, and spicy peanut dressing. The salty chickpeas were really tasty with the sweet dressing. I can’t wait to make this again!)

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Going to introductory meetings was not nearly as scary or awkward as second-semester junior beginning something new as I had imagined it would be. Having a friend with me helped a lot and, dare I say it, I think I actually had fun. I overcame my fear of being the oldest and also least experienced person in the room and hopefully that will serve me well later in life, right?

And my listserv emails actually have relevance now, too. So what’s the moral of this long and rambling blog post? That sometimes you actually should just man up and do something new. It’ll probably pay off, and even if it doesn’t you will most likely get free stuff.

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