Discovering your path in college isn’t always easy


CW / Autumn Williams

Victor Hagan, Contributing Columnist

The University of Alabama wastes no time throwing you into the vast possibilities of its campus. There is truly something for every kind of interest that a student could have. That’s why we have over 570  student organizations at the University to get involved in. That variety, however, can feel overwhelming to new students looking to make a big campus feel smaller.

Student organizations cannot be described in just one way. While some are academic in nature, others emphasize hobbies, interests and volunteerism. They’re also a great way to meet new people and give you something to look forward to every week beyond class. If you’re like me, they can also serve as a reason to do your assignments ahead of time.

Some student organizations are sponsored by University departments or colleges while others are completely student-run. Discovering the ones that apply to you requires finding a balance and getting involved based on your personal interests and goals. You can build off activities or clubs you participated in before college while finding new interests.

There are several resources made to help you find student organizations that fit your interests. The Office of Student Involvement has an Involvement Quiz that aligns goals and interests with relevant student organizations. There is also a directory on mySource to search student organizations by name or category. 

It’s also worth remembering that you can come and go as you please with most student organizations. Attending one meeting or talking to people in an organization doesn’t mean you have to keep attending. Just like life, not everything will be your thing. The key is to find two or three organizations that you enjoy. That can mean you like the activities, the people, or even the opportunities that membership can come with. Any combination of those that feel worthwhile is beneficial to the college experience.

When I first came to the University of Alabama, I tried sticking with what I did in high school. As time passed, I asked myself if I truly enjoyed what I was doing, or if I was just sticking to what I knew because I was scared to try anything different. Realizing that I needed to branch out, I began searching for other areas of campus that fit my interests and goals.

Since then, I started moving out of my comfort zone and joined other organizations that felt right. That decision allowed me to meet new people, have new experiences and even hold some executive positions. Now, I’m a member of five organizations and hold an elected position in two of them. Two years ago, if you told me I would be the treasurer of the Alabama Archery Club, I would have laughed in your face.

Of course, it was scary at first. It’s never easy to show up to a random room filled with strangers, but that’s a part of the experience. Try going to organization meetings with a few friends you already have. If you all enjoy it, student organizations can become something you share with others. Even if others aren’t ready to join, it can be an opportunity just for you.

You can make the college experience whatever you want it to be. Some people join as many organizations as possible. Others pick a few and move their way up in them. The only thing that matters is doing what you enjoy during your time at the Capstone.