College is a time filled with new faces, new (and harder) classes and, really, a new season of life. With all this excitement and expectation, it’s easy to be captivated by all the “new”, and in the process lose perspective on important things…
When I got to MC, my first instinct was to jump right into every single group that caught my eye. I wanted to do everything not because I wanted to be busy, but because I just wanted to belong. After a few crazy weeks of trying to do it all, I realized I needed to choose just a few places to call mine. I enjoyed general rush but ultimately decided not to pref a tribe.
At first it was difficult to see so many of my friends invest and grow in tribes and clubs, but I was confident that I was called to a different type of community. Choosing not to rush frees up more time to discover what you care about and how you want to invest. It may sometimes seem that tribes and clubs are the only way to go, especially freshman year, but there are so many other ways to get involved on campus.
Clubs & Organizations
There is a student organization for nearly every major on campus. I have friends involved with the History Club, the National Association for Music Educators, the Association of Student Social Workers, and more. You can even be a part of groups outside of your major. Check out interest meetings for free snacks and information, ask upperclassmen in your department, or talk to professors about groups they sponsor. Find a group that is passionate about the things you are and invest there.
One area of campus that is dedicated specifically to making MC feel like home is Residence Life. If you haven't yet, get to know your RA and get involved on your hall. Whether it's Bible studies or movie nights, Res Life gives you the opportunity to develop a unique community with the people you live closest to. Not only did I gain incredible friends through involvement on my hall freshman year, but I also applied to be an RA (which you can do in the spring). Even if you don't choose Res Life as a job, go to events and be part of the community in your residence hall.
Some of the most active and inclusive groups at MC are our campus ministries. I started actively participating in BSU almost as soon as I arrived on campus, and it was a source of incredible discipleship and relationships for me. I have friends who can say the same for ministries like RUF, FCA, Lighthouse, and the Catholic Student Association. Campus ministries are also a great way to connect with upperclassmen who can become awesome friends and mentors. These groups create fun opportunities to worship, learn, and connect to other students.
Finding a place in a local church is one of the most important things you can do in college. I made the mistake of looking for a perfect church for a long time, which means for two years I was missing the part of my community that exists outside of MC. Instead of looking at what a church can offer you, think about the ways you can give back to the church. Connect with the college ministry or a small group, volunteer with the children's ministry, or sing in the choir. Surround yourself with people of all ages and backgrounds who will open their homes and lives to you. There is no better way to feel like you belong somewhere.
Whether through your church, a campus ministry, or another organization, volunteering is another way to bring purpose to your free time. Giving back to the Clinton community can help it seem more like your home. Check out Apartment Ministries through the BSU, service days hosted by student organizations, or research local missions and ministries to find one that seems like a good fit.
Find a Job
Another great way to get to know a new group of people while also preparing for your future (or funding your Whataburger habits) is to get a job. There are dozens of on-campus jobs available to students, as well as part-time jobs all over town. You could also find an internship with a company you're interested in. The work you do in college is a great way to discover what your passions and gifts are and how they work together.
At MC there are so many activities and experiences that are worth your time and energy. Don't believe that you're limiting yourself by choosing not to rush. Every person on campus brings something different to MC. Spend your time on things that are important to you. Find a few places to call your own and give them all you've got. There's a family waiting for you.