Wise Fools: Getting Involved as a Second Year

Hello prospective students, confused current students, and lost surfers of the web. Welcome to Wise Fools, where I address the ins and outs of being a sophomore at Brown University. My name is Justin Ferenzi, and I’m here to help shine some light on the intricacies of a student’s second year. 
During those first few weeks of freshman year, your inbox and calendar are full of meetings for clubs, sports, and organizations. You have grand plans to become an editor for the Herald, network in DUGS and student associations, start your own not-for-profit, hold down a full-time job, and maybe play some intramural badminton. You soon realize that there are only twenty-four hours in a day and change your game plan a bit.
However, some people have the tendency to over-correct, retracting from responsibilities and commitments so much that they wind up feeling bored or uninvolved. One of the major goals I hear from my classmates for their sophomore year is to get more involved on campus. Here are a few quick tips on how to approach that.
First of all, it can help to revert to that freshman mindset, if only for a little bit. Go to the Activities Fair, sign up for things that seem interesting, go to a few preliminary meetings and see what sticks. (Then promptly beg to be taken off the mailing list for everything you didn’t wind up joining.) You now also have the added benefit of knowing significantly more people on campus than you did in September of your freshman year. See the things that your friends are involved in, and ask them about it. Beyond figuring out more things to join, having a friend or two who are already in a club can make it easier to enter the fold and reduce any stress about joining later than the other members.
Another good way to fight off the feeling of being uninvolved is to take on bigger roles in the things you already are involved in. Apply to be in a leadership position, volunteer to set up for events, or just start showing up to more meetings. Sometimes casting a stronger net can be better than casting a wider one, and reinforcing your participation in what you’ve already joined can be just as rewarding as joining more activities.
*Shameless Plug Warning* Also, if you’re looking for a fun, easy, low-commitment activity to join your sophomore year, consider joining the Bruin Blog!
But, to be more serious, it’s most important to just not be self conscious about joining things sophomore year. Yes, you might be in a sea of freshman during those preliminary meetings or training sessions, but pretty soon you’ll go from “new member” to just “member,” and reap the rewards of getting involved in the things that you care most about.
When Justin Ferenzi isn’t blogging, he’s obsessively refreshing his email account for blogging-related correspondence. For any and all questions about life at Brown, don’t hesitate to send a message to justin_ferenzi@brown.edu
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