Dear Ivy

Dear Ivy

Billy Ferguson/ Fourth Estate

A stressed-out sophomore sends out an SOS


Dear Ivy,

All anyone says when you ask for advice about college is to “get involved.”

Well, I’m a sophomore and I still have yet to do so. I know that Mason has a lot of clubs, but I’m nervous to start going to their meetings this late in the school year. There’re also too many to choose from; I don’t know how to even pick one! What organizations do you think I should look at? I just want to meet friendly people who I can have good conversations with. Are there any other ways (other than clubs) to get involved on campus?


– Stressed-out Sophomore  


Dear Stressed-Out Sophomore,

You’re exactly right, Mason has many, many clubs. From Brazilian jiu-jitsu to the anime club, there’s something for everyone. The first step in finding the right club is to narrow down your interests, as the amount of clubs can be overwhelming and stop you before you start. Instead, think about what you want to do and why you want to get involved. Do you want to make new friends? Develop a skill? Find a new passion? All of these can help narrow down what you want to do.

After you know your interests, start your club search. One great place to start is GetConnected,  where you can find Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and quickly search based on the type of organization or keywords. You can also join email lists about events and special trips being held at Mason, as well as keep track of events you go to and the clubs you are in so you will always have that information on hand. You’ll find sports here, too, from volleyball to rugby, which are great choices for getting exercise and building a team.

However, GetConnected only lists official organizations, while Mason has many more clubs that are not official. You would not find the GMU Crafting Circle, Fishing Club or Muay Thai Club on GetConnected, but these clubs still host fun hangouts and promise a good time. Use the GMU Facebook Page to discover non-official clubs on campus. If you don’t use Facebook, create an account just to keep updated on new clubs. Often, someone suddenly posting about an interest will create a new club.

Aside from clubs, there are many other ways to get involved on campus. Some ways to do this include becoming a Patriot Leader, joining a sorority or fraternity or starting a project with the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR). Mason’s Student Involvement website lists several ideas that can help you get started.

Ultimately, only become as actively “involved” as you want. Your first job as a college student is to pass your classes and study for the future you want. Remember to only get involved in the clubs that you are highly interested in, as extracurriculars require a lot of time and you do not want to accidentally overwhelm yourself.

If you are interested in a club, do your research, talk to members of the club and join their Facebook group if they have one. Go to the club’s events to get a taste of their organization.

You’ll find your people eventually. There are so many ways to get involved—it’s your college experience, so make the most of it, however you want.